The underground and experimental cinema community lost one of its great founding members. George Kuchar died last night at the age of 69. Most remembered for his lo-fi yet outrageous films, George, along with his twin brother Mike Kuchar, created some of the most memorable, strange and silly cinematic experiences the art world has ever known.
Join me below the jump for a look at this influential artist’s career.[Via IndieWire]
George and Mike Kuchar began making films at twelve years old with a 8mm camera they had received as a gift. These early works were imaginative remakes of the movies that the brothers would go to see at their local New York City movie theaters.
The films that the brothers began creating as they grew older were often a mix of “woman’s pictures” — George’s favorite — and “swords and sandals epics” — Mike’s favorites. The brothers’ films were a mixture of campiness, toilet humor, and profound goofiness. Eventually George’s works were being shown in the burgeoning 1960s underground film scene in New York, alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage. Quite a pack of colleagues.
This is one of the many, many films George created throughout his lifetime, titled The Mongreloid (1978), it features George talking to his pet dog.
When George made the switch from film to video, he brought his signature overblown style to a whole new generational playing field. Not least of these video works were “The Weather Diaries,” in which George documented storms in Oklahoma, both meteorological and emotional.
Here’s one of George’s more famous works from his film era, titled Hold Me While I’m Naked. (1966) (NSFW)
George taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1971 until his death, and some of his students and friends during this time even ended up in his films. In 2009, filmmaker Jennifer Kroot made the documentary It Came From Kuchar, which chronicled the Kuchar brothers and their works. You can watch the trailer for the documentary below:
The Kuchars have influenced countless subsequent artists from filmmakers such as John Waters to over four generations of students with their unabashed relationship to the quirky, the clumsy, and the tacky. George is survived by his twin Mike, and will be severely missed by all those who knew him and his work.