Atomic Sublime

Atomic Sublime
72 min., color and black and white digital video originating on 16mm, 2010
directed and edited by Jesse Lerner



Atomic Sublime is a feature-length found footage collage essay that engages the history and politics of modern art in the United States. There is a fundamental  tension at the heart of this history, a tension that helps define the structure of this experimental documentary. On one hand the Abstract Expressionist painters,  like many other modern artists working in the USA during the years after World War  II, were often red-baited. Yet  at the same time, the U.S. State Department exported Abstract Expressionist painting (and photographic reproduction of these works) around the world. The debate over the political underpinnings of gestural abstraction rarely addressed the artworks themselves; it rather provided a forum for conflicting ideological and cultural agendas to rehearse their differences in a new arena.


official selection—International Film Festival Rotterdam



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