In celebration of 50 years of cinema’s most ostentatious movie icon, James Bond, Museum of Modern Art in New York City is presenting a full retrospective of all 22 Bond films. So if you are planning to visit MoMA between October 5 – 31, don’t expect to see films by leading or emerging American or international filmmakers whose works advance the art of filmmaking. No viewing of films by experimental artists who consider themselves lucky if they get even a single night’s screening at Anthology Film Archives. Don’t expect the showing of such unfashionable filmmakers as Andrei Tarkovsky, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Yoshishige Yoshida …or, say, anything by Margaret Tait.
Your guess is as good as mine as to why MoMA would allocate precious resources to promote a B-movie foreign film franchise while its board and curators continue to snub non-brand name artists, especially Americans, in all fields. Well, perhaps, ironically and sadly, economy may be one reason for this undertaking. It’s not surprising to expect that the series will prove greatly popular. This, of course, will also mean that the esteemed museum will be encouraged to pursue similar projects that will bring in the crowds …for all the wrong reasons!
I, personally, have nothing against enjoying kitsch art or watching B-movies. On the contrary, there is something familiar and endearing about both art forms. However, inconsistencies in curatorial programming are always difficult to digest : celebrating lower common denominator in European cultural productions while expecting ground-breaking works from American artists is simply bizarre… Perhaps artists should be encouraged to cultivate a foreign or, in fact, any old affectatious accent to be considered worthy of consideration for inclusion into MoMA’s exhibitions. Yes, I am being facetious. Note that this comes from a woman (moi) who speaks with an unidentifiable – some say partially British or New Englandish-American – accent. In fact, as someone who has lived, worked and researched on three continents, I have never quite understood American cultural elites’ uncritical admiration for all things Northern European, especially British. Having lived in England for nearly a decade, I frankly never understood what the infinitely amusing fuss – that Americans make about all things British – has been about. But that’s a different story …
By the way, have I mentioned that MoMA is also organizing an accompanying exhibition Goldfinger: the Design of an Iconic Film Title? Well, they are.