‘Painters Painting’ Leads New Film Series at Parrish Art Museum

Emile de Antonio

Emile de Antonio was a keen observer of the art world, an important conduit between artist friends and gallerists.

They let him into their homes and studios, and sometimes, with a video camera in hand.

The result was his film, “Painters Painting: A Candid History of the New York Art Scene, 1940-1970” — an insider’s view of one of the most innovative periods of American art, from abstract expressionism to pop — screening on Friday, January 18, at 6 p.m. at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, as the first in its new series, “The Artist’s Lens,” co-presented with the Hamptons Doc Fest.

“This film captures an immensely important moment of change in American art, and the candid interviews with all these great artists before they were famous are priceless,” Corinne Erni, curator of special projects, said in a press release.

De Antonio’s subjects range from Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg to Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell, as well as the powerbrokers of the art world at the time, like Leo Castelli.

“Combining interviews with live footage of the artists at work in their studio, de Antonio and cinematographer Ed Emshwiller created a groundbreaking work that captured major contemporary art movements in a way no film maker had ever before,” a press release said. “In an interview for the online journal Senses of Cinema, de Antonio said, ‘I was probably the only filmmaker in the world who could [have made “Painters Painting”] because I knew all those people, from the time that they were poor and unsuccessful and had no money. I knew Warhol and Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns and Stella before they ever sold a painting, and so it was interesting to [do the film about them].’”

A talk with painter Valerie Jaudon and Parrish director Terrie Sultan will follow the film. Admission is $20 or $5 for members and students. For more information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.