SFMOMA OPENSPACE | A Conversation with Mike Kuchar

Mike Kuchar is a true San Francisco treasure. His uncompromising output spans more than sixty years, and reminds us of the often forgotten value of individual vision and non-conformity. The few meetings I have had with Mike always leave me feeling completely inspired, and this time was no exception. Below are excerpts from that wide ranging two-hour conversation, between Mike, Gordon, and myself, which took place in my studio on May 18th, 2016.

Matt Borruso

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GEORGE & Mike KUCHAR featured in the 12th Brakhage Center Symposium

George Kuchar is one of the great artists in the history of the moving image…We are amazed by the craft, the perfect cues, the skillful edits, the startling images and visual rhymes, the flawless pacing and ingenious continuity, often achieved spontaneously, in camera. His images can be both insanely bizarre and rapturously beautiful, with a hallucinatoryotherness seldom achieved  by even the most visionary artists in film history…

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FANDOR | The Restored Glory of Curt McDowell'S THUNDERCRACK!

It had long been the dream of Melinda McDowell-Milks, Curt McDowell’s sister, to stage an event where the newly-restored Directors Cut of Thundercrack! (1975) could be seen in San Francisco on the Castro Theater’s giant screen. Synapse Films—responsible for the restoration work in preparation for the film’s forty-year anniversary—gave her permission.”Go ahead. Do it.” But having never done anything of the sort, she had no awareness of the mechanics involved, and didn’t know what she even needed to know.

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HARVARD FILM ARCHIVE | Christmas with Anne Robertson and George Kuchar

December 18, 2015 @ 7pm

Unique, prolific, emotional and funny, the filmmakers George Kuchar (1942 - 2011) and Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949 - 2012) both left behind many hours of moving image diaries, much of which is housed at the Harvard Film Archive. While the tones of their respective diaries are quite different, both Kuchar and Robertson cover similar leitmotifs, including food, the body, cats, family and the natural world. They also share the tradition of cinematically confronting the holiday season—a time that can be melancholy or festive, lonely or celebratory, and usually a bit of everything. Tonight we present a selection of their complementary, alternative visions of sugar plums.

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January 29, 2015

“Movies should have sex appeal,” says Mike Kuchar. “It’s a basic fundamental quality and helps in making it bearable to watch.” It’s the same bravado that seared through the filmmaker’s lascivious, sugar-coated home videos made with his brother George and screened alongside friends Kenneth Anger, Jonas Mekasand Andy Warhol in the New York underground film scene of the 1960s and 70s. Experimenting with 8mm film, the twin brothers from the Bronx conjured up their own camp, sexually charged pop fantasies in fleshly shades of violet, turquoise, and sunflower.

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Mike Kuchar in ArtForum

January 29, 2015

Burnished bubble butts beam with unholy light. Cut and uncut, huge, veiny cocks blossom from every angle. Angels and gods, gladiators and cavemen, street hustlers and bodybuilders, S-M beltings and four-way pirate fuckfests are all drawn with the bright hues and hard lines of comic-book superheroes.

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The George Kuchar Reader — Release date: November 30, 2014

George Kuchar (1942-2011) is best known as a pioneering underground film and video maker with a disarming do-it-yourself aesthetic and a hilariously eccentric sensibility. Quirky and ingenious, heartfelt and campy, Kuchar's movies know no boundaries and are an entirely unique development in the history of cinema. The artist's characteristic instinct for kitsch, his humor and conceptual brilliance, were not confined to the screen alone; they can be glimpsed in all the activities he carried out throughout his life.


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Mike Kuchar @ Kimmerich

MIKE KUCHAR: Brave, Bold and Bare, November 8, 2014 - January 10, 2015

“What are these acts of creation we do in paint or on film? Are they linked or related to Creation itself—the very force that gives motion, light, and form to the universe... or am I just a guy warding off boredom with a hobby that substitutes for his loneliness?”

—Mike Kuchar

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George Kuchar @ Yerba Buena Center For The Arts

San Francisco Cinematheque Presents: A Criminal Account of Pleasure: The George Kuchar Reader
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Yerba Buena Center For The Arts

Andrew Lampert , the editor of The George Kuchar Reader (and Anthology Film Archives’ Curator of Collections) appears in person to read excerpts from the book and to discuss this legend. The program includes George Kuchar’s 16mm Corruption of the Damned and the video The Exiled Files of Eddie Gray. 

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Friday, October 17 & Saturday, October 18, 2016


He’s back! Yes, one-time NYC denizen Mike Kuchar makes an all-too-rare hometown appearance and return visit to Anthology. Beloved for the films he made in tandem with twin brother, George, as well as for his own over-the-top underground masterpieces, Mike is a prolific creator of moving images the likes of which you cannot imagine or even dream of. Kuchar’s work demonstrates a campy romantic eye and rapturous ear that is as indebted to lyrical poetry as it is to ecstatic imagery. Rather than rest on his voluminous back catalog, the videos that Mike has been making the last few years are undoubtedly amongst the strongest works in a career that began nearly 60 years ago.

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George Kuchar @ MoMA

Monday, May 26, 2014

1966. USA. Directed by George Kuchar. With Donna Kerness, George Kuchar, Stella Kuchar, Andrea Lunin. The loosely autobiographical Hold Me While I’m Naked is both the story of a frustrated filmmaker trying to prove his artistic integrity through his next production, and Kuchar’s homage to Douglas Sirk’s lush Hollywood melodramas. 15 min.

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Mike Kuchar @ Tate Modern

Mike Kuchar: film follies and digital daydreams

November 29 – December 1, 2013

The vibrant, poetic and wild works of American underground filmmaker Mike Kuchar have inspired generations of filmmakers and artists with their wickedly perverse parodies of pop-culture and abundant creativity. Relishing the possibilities of the most minuscule budgets, his films and videos are radiant and lurid in equal measure, celebrating human creativity with an undiminished passion and humour for over 50 years.

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Mike Kuchar in The Guardian

June 19, 2013

For real illustrative oomph and pizzazz, Mike Kuchar's he-man naked hunks – cavorting with dinosaurs and each other – are much more fun. He and his twin brother, George, also made ultra-camp underground movies in the 1950s and 60s, which were a major influence on director John Waters. It's a surprise any of Kuchar's gladiators and Thor-type beefcakes can even walk, let alone slay brontosauruses, given the bulging impedimenta they drag about between their legs.

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