Shirley Clarke
American , 1919-1997
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Shirley Clarke was a leading figure in American avant-garde cinema in the 1950s and ’60s, and a pioneer of video art in the ’70s. With a background as a dancer, she made works that she considered “choreography of images”. Her works characteristically featured rhythmic movements of both the human figure and the camera; she was also known to produce dramatic narratives and documentary-like films. While Clarke is also credited with contributing to the rise of cinéma verité, she staunchly rejected the idea of objective filmmaking. In 1970, Clarke helped form the Tee Pee Videospace Troupe collective, which produced experimental film and theater pieces. She also founded, with Jonas Mekas, both the Film-Makers Cooperative and Film-Makers Distribution Center in New York.

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