Anthology Film Archives

BRUCE & NORMAN YONEMOTO

March 17 – March 24

Filmmaker in person!

Anthology is overjoyed to host artist Bruce Yonemoto for a long-overdue retrospective of the video work he and his brother Norman Yonemoto have created, both together and separately, since the mid-1970s. Working largely collaboratively until Norman’s death in 2014, the Yonemotos hold a unique place in the history of avant-garde cinema and video art. Their work can be viewed through many different prisms: proudly Queer and committed to conveying the perspective and history of Asian-American (specifically, Japanese-American) culture, their films, videos, and installations also reflect a distinctively West Coast mentality, steeped in the radiance (and the shadows) of Hollywood’s glamorous myths, illusions, and ideologies.

Raised in Santa Clara, California, in the immediate postwar years, with their mother’s experience in the Japanese-American concentration camps informing their upbringing, the brothers both embraced careers in visual culture early on: Norman attended film school at UCLA and the American Film Institute, while Bruce studied art at UC Berkeley, the Sokei Bijitsu GakkĊ in Tokyo, and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Despite these initially separate paths – and after Norman cut his filmmaking teeth making both agit-prop shorts and the adult film BROTHERS – they almost immediately embarked on a collaborative career, beginning with the X-rated feature GARAGE SALE (1976). Soon after, they began a trilogy of video works known as the “Soap Opera Series” – a title that reflected their ongoing preoccupation with the conventions of television soap opera in particular and the codes and forms of mass media in general.

The Yonemotos’ extraordinary video works of the 1980s and 90s are irreverent, ironic, gleefully stylized, and yet closely attuned to the ways in which the grammar and iconography of television and industrial cinema shape modern life. Collaborating with a gloriously eclectic array of artists and performers including Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, Spalding Gray, Jeffrey Vallance, Patricia Arquette, Ron Vawter, Mary Woronov, and Michael Smith, their body of work represents a fascinating nexus of figures, themes, and ideas.

Following Norman’s death in 2014, Bruce continued making single-channel video pieces, in addition to his photographs, installations, and sculptural works. This comprehensive retrospective will encompass almost all of the Yonemotos’ collaborative works, as well as Norman’s SECOND CAMPAIGN and BROTHERS, and a selection of the solo works Bruce has created since the turn of the millennium.

The retrospective is co-presented by Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), which has distributed and promoted the Yonemotos’ work for many years. Special thanks to Rebecca Cleman, Tyler Maxin, Karl McCool, and everyone at EAI.



Unless otherwise noted, all individual film descriptions are courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix.

Bruce Yonemoto will be here in person from March 17-20, and will be joined by additional guests as follows:

Thurs, March 17 at 7:30:
The screening of GARAGE SALE will feature a Q&A with Bruce Yonemoto, moderated by Karl McCool, Distribution Director of Electronic Arts Intermix.

Fri, Mar 18 at 7:00:
The screening BASED ON ROMANCE + AN IMPOTENT METAPHOR will feature a Q&A with Bruce Yonemoto, as well as actor Wenden Baldwin (who appears in BASED ON ROMANCE), moderated by Rebecca Cleman, Executive Director of Electronic Arts Intermix.

Sat, Mar 19 at 7:00:
The screening SPALDING GRAY'S MAP OF L.A. + KAPPA + BLINKY will feature a Q&A with Bruce Yonemoto, moderated by Tyler Maxin, Communications and Special Projects Associate at Electronic Arts Intermix.

Sun, Mar 20 at 4:45:
The screening of MADE IN HOLLYWOOD will feature a Q&A with Bruce Yonemoto and actor Greg Mehrten (Mabou Mines, Wooster Group).

Sun, Mar 20 at 6:45:
The 6:45 screening will feature a Q&A with Bruce Yonemoto and performance artist Karen Finley, who stars in FAR EAST OF EDEN.

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