Here at Crystal Bridges, we’ve unofficially dubbed next week (July 14 – 18) as “Sam Green Week.” Sam Green is an acclaimed cross-disciplinary filmmaker whose documentary The Weather Underground was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003. Green will present his newest “live documentary” The Measure of All Things in Crystal Bridges’ Great Hall on Wednesday, July 16. This lecture/performance/film is a playful and poetic meditation on humanity, loosely inspired by the Guinness World Records book… » series. Green interprets our collective fascination with the book of world records as a profound need to try and make some sense of who we are by calibrating human experience and marveling at its outer contours. Green himself traveled to various reaches of the earth to collect original footage of record-holding people, places, and things. He weaves into these original portraits a rich assembly of archival footage, his own live narration, and an evocative live musical performance by musicians Brendan Canty (of the DC-based band Fugazi), T. Griffin, and Catherine McRae to create an indelible rumination on fate, human endeavor, and the nature of our existence on Earth. The Measure of All Things is an official selection at Sundance in 2014. “Sam Green has become known in the film world for these live documentaries,” said Senior Museum Educator Sara Segerlin. “In an interesting way it’s kind of like the silent movie era. People loved going to those films because of the live performance that accompanied them. Sam has reinvigorated that genre in a very current way. It’s much more like experiencing a play than a film.”
As we move steadily toward the September 13 opening of the exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, Crystal Bridges’ educational team has been preparing to enter a new realm of public programming centered around contemporary working artists. Green’s mash-up of genres makes a good warm-up into the kind of experiences our guests will have with State of the Art.
“We’ve been thinking increasingly in terms of interdisciplinary experiences in our programming,” Segerlin said. “We’re incorporating digital media, music, film, and storytelling. This fall we’re doing an Art Night Out that includes non-traditional theatre. It’s not like going to see a show, it’s specific to the museum experience. Museums across the country are building these programs called ‘Live Arts.’ SF MoMA is now developing a theatre dedicated to live arts learning. Sam Green is kind of kicking off that movement for our programming options here at Crystal Bridges.”
Green will give three presentations during his stay at Crystal Bridges, beginning with the The Measure of All Things on July 16. Next, on July 17, Green will give a free Art Talk in the Museum galleries at 1 p.m., during which he will select a favorite artwork among Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection and discuss ways in which he would transform the work of art into a live documentary production. Finally, on July 18, Green will present The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a presentation that focuses on the life and work of this progressive thinker, inventory, and visionary . You can learn more about Fuller here.
“This whole week with Sam Green started with the Buckyball,” Segerlin said. “When Leo Villareal’s Buckyball was acquired for the permanent collection, we wanted to host The Lovesong of R. Buckminster Fuller to give some context to the historical context and design of the sculpture. Unfortunately, Green couldn’t do the full performance because the band he normally works with, Yo La Tengo, was not available. But he generously said ‘Tell you what, I’ll do a lecture on Buckminster Fuller, and a full performance of the new traveling live documentary.’ Naturally we said Yes!”
“We’re thrilled that Sam Green is coming to Crystal Bridges to enrich us with these eye-opening studies of the world,” Segerlin continued, “whether through the many people and countries represented in the research and travel he did related to the Guinness Book of World Records, or scientifically with the story of Buckminster Fuller. We’re delighted to be able to offer our guests the opportunity to experience world-class performances and experiences right here in NW Arkansas.”