02 Apr Gerald Marks and Life in Stereoscopic 3-D“The Art of Stereoscopic 3-D” by guest blogger Erich Rettstadt
Gerald Marks and Life in Stereoscopic 3-DOn Tuesday March 27th, the New York Film and Video Council hosted an event entitled “The Art of Stereoscopic 3-D” in the studio of stereo artist Gerald Marks. Having worked with 3-D for more than 37 years, Marks spent over two hours discussing his massive body of work and fielding questions from the audience. Marks’ presentation was split into two sections: still images and video work. During the first part of the evening, Marks presented a slideshow contrasting somber and joyful images that he had either photographed himself or converted to 3-D. For decades, Marks has roller skated along the Hudson River with a 3-D camera taking photos. Some of the most remarkable 3-D images resulted when the artist took a picture, turned 180 degrees and immediately took another, a technique he frequently utilized. From weather oddities to architectural anomalies along with the endlessly entertaining people of New York and the artist’s self-proclaimed obsession with antennas, his collection of images was truly spectacular. Along with images from his recurrent roller skating expeditions, Marks showcased pictures from the top of the World Trade Center (WTC) in the 1970’s and early 2000’s, as well as converted 3-D still frames from the famous 1963 Zapruder film of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Both the WTC and JFK stills were absolutely breathtaking, showcasing the power of 3-D art while simultaneously striking a somber tone in stark contrast to the lighthearted images Marks used to open his presentation. During the second half of the program, Marks screened music videos he shot with the Rolling Stones in the early nineties. While preparing a small still exhibit in Tokyo, Marks was contacted by Mick Jagger and asked to create a demo displaying the possibilities of a 3-D music video. Marks immediately went to work, presented the video to Jagger upon his return to the US, and was quickly hired to make a 3-D music video for the Stones. At the event, the artist showed the audience both the demo he made for Jagger as well as the actual music video. While Marks admitted that he preferred to work with stills over moving images, the Stones video was captivating and full of ideas that did not exist in the music video world at the time or even to this day. Marks undeniably deserves his own exhibit. Before the event, I never truly thought of 3-D as an art form. Yes, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg have legitimized the comeback of 3-D films with their own projects, but the idea of a stereoscopic 3-D exhibit at a venue such the MOMA never even crossed my mind as a viable concept. More than viable, Marks body of work is truly innovative, impressive and merits public display. The night ended with Marks fielding questions from the audience and championing the idea of a 3-D museum, which unfortunately does not currently exist.
Gerald Marks is an artist working along the border joining Art and Science. This means more than just technological innovation or use of technology. Far more important is the content emphasis on perception, knowing and questioning. Marks has a philosophy about art that influences all of his work. He wants people to question what they see. he wants them to think about the role time and space play in our perceptions. His visual illusions are his invitation for people to probe. It is his special hope that his work will inspire young people today and in the future to inquire about the way they see the world. He is currently at work on a giant 3-D mural for the New York City “Arts for Transit” program. Designed for the 28th Street subway station, and sponsored by ASCI, the mural will be built into glass blocks in which the curvature of the glass inside the block forms cylindrical lenses. Marks plans to use the lenticular (lens-like) properties of the block along with the appropriate lights, projectors, lenses, filters, in the space behind the wall to create a 3-D illusion art display. The mural will appear to move as you ride into the station. He enjoys working in mixed media, performance art; combining theater, design, music projections etc..both in his own productions and as a designer for productions by others at The Pubic Theater/N.Y. Shakespeare Festival, The Soho Repertory Theater, The McBean Theater at the Exploratorium and many more.
Erich Rettstadt, a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in Film/TV Production and Dramatic Literature, ha directed numerous movies and plays. His freshman and sophomore films were selected for Showcases. In 2008, Erich founded Tisch New Theatre (TNT), a NYU-sanctioned club that is now one of the largest student theater groups on campus. Erich directed TNT’s inaugural production at the Skirball Center, marking the first ever student-run production at the largest theater south of 42nd Street in Manhattan. Erich was selected as one of NYU’s 15 Most Influential Students by the Washington Square News and received a President’s Service Award. The past two summers, Erich taught an intensive filmmaking program to high schoolers at NYU’s NYC and Singapore campuses. His most recent film, STATE DEBATE, “homage to 1950’s Technicolor musicals”screened at the 2012 First Run Film Festival and was awarded Best Original Score.