Week of September 11 to September 17: Full Aperture

The absurdity of fixation: Jack Smith and Flaming Creatures

August 14 2016 · by Travis Bird

Image for 'The absurdity of fixation: Jack Smith and Flaming Creatures'An untitled photo by Jack Smith, c. 1958-1962

More than most other underground films, Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures is valuable both as a film and as a document. It was a personal film made by an artist whose life and work connected the avant-garde art and underground film scenes in New York. It galvanized that city’s avant-garde film, theatre, and performance scenes, inspiring them to explore and display homosexuality, radical politics, and the constant questioning of rationality and social norms. But Smith didn’t specifically set out to make this happen. Rather, his extravagantly queer, original, and unapologetic style became an example, inspiring a litany of other artists to step through the doors he opened by living his life as performance...