When architect Frank Gehry famously observed that art and architecture had the ability to transform a person and profoundly affect a place, he was no doubt referencing his widely acclaimed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao — the shimmering 1997 masterpiece perched regally on the edge of the Nervión River and credited with transforming a sleepy fishing village into an architectural pilgrimage for millions of visitors across the globe.
“The significance of art and design in our cities and lives can’t be overstated,” said Roman Baratiak, UCSB’s Arts & Lectures associate director who helped launch the Art | Architecture on Film series several years ago, highlighting the rebels and visionaries transmuting function and form into creative inspiration. This year, and on the 100th anniversary of Germany’s legendary Bauhaus modernist art school, Baratiak, along with cocurator and design aficionado Bruce Heavin, will be taking the festival downtown, hoping to attract a wider audience for their nine-film series that runs Saturday-Sunday, May 4-5. “The decision to move the festival off-campus is a grand experiment we’re hoping will result in luring the curious Santa Barbaran into the theaters on a Saturday afternoon,” laughed Baratiak.
Packing this year’s lineup with documentaries on some of the most influential artists and designers of our time helps, too. Among the nine powerhouse films is the work of a young Parisian street artist and his endearing alliance with a 90-year-old film pioneer (Faces Places); a neo-punk activist (Obey Giant: The Art and Dissent of Shepard Fairey), a Japanese visionary (Kusama: Infinity) and Japan’s profound influence on Nordic architecture (Kochuu); a British environmental steward (Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy); a touching father/son collaboration (REM); an academic social movement (Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus); a survey of architectural influences across the globe (Great Expectations); and a shock artist turned soulful installationist (Burden).
“We want audiences to discover new artists and delve deeper into the approach and process of creating art and design,” emphasized Baratiak, and at $40 for a weekend festival pass — not to mention a free screening of Obey Giant on Saturday evening — it’s a difficult proposal to pass up. “Our goal this year is to make it as accessible and affordable as we possibly can, and if we succeed in impacting the lives of even four new audience members, then I think we will have succeeded.”
4•1•1 | UCSB’s Arts & Lectures presents Art | Architecture on Film Saturday-Sunday, May 4-5. Call 893-3535 or see artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.