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Art is... the Permanent Revolution

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Product Details

  • Actors: Deborah Schneer, Sigmund Abeles, Ann Chernow, Paul Marcus, James Reed
  • Directors: Manfred Kirchheimer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Feaures
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083VAHVU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,761 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Art is... the Permanent Revolution" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The anger and outrage captured by graphic artists and printmakers have defined revolutions through the centuries, depicting the human condition in all its glories and struggles so powerfully that perceptions, attitudes and politics have been dramatically influenced.

In ART IS...THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION three contemporary artists and a master printer explore how social reality and protest are conveyed in art. While the stirring works of the masters sweep by-- among them graphics by Rembrandt, Goya, Daumier, Kollwitz, Dix, Grosz and Picasso-- the making of an etching, a woodcut and a lithograph unfolds before our eyes as the contemporary artists join their illustrious predecessors in creating art of social engagement.

Featuring Sigmund Abeles, etcher; Ann Chernow, lithographer; Paul Marcus, woodcutter; and James Reed, master printer.


The film delves deeper as we behold awe-struck the breathtaking works themselves - the harrowing "Disasters of War" by Goya; the dissonant post-World War I Expressionism of Otto Dix; the mourning women depicted by Kathe Kollwitz. And we learn of sacrifices.... There is no mistaking Mr. Kirchheimer's conviction or his love for the creators here, past and present. --Andy Webster, The New York Times

Explores among the most riveting works in all visual art. --David Noh, Film Journal

An important exploration of the artists behind the art. Given our high stakes times this is a must see for any socially engaged and concerned American. A great film. --Stephen A. Fredericks, President, The New York Society of Etchers

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As a movie experience, "Art is...The Permanent Revolution" is a bit more modest in scope than its title may imply. This incredibly low-key effort is undoubtedly a must-see for any artist that toils in anonymity hoping to take the world by storm. In many ways, though, it is two films in one. In the primary narrative, we are introduced to contemporary artists who are each working on a piece. One is a wood engraving, one is an etching, and one is a lithograph. The film starts these works at the beginning and as the film proceeds, we get an up close look at the process that brings the final products to fruition. Over it all, the artists lend a gentle commentary about any number of topics. Everyone is genial enough, but at times it seemed to lack focus. Interspersed with these interview segments are montages of artwork (from famous masters and/or uncredited artists) that generally unite in some social or political theme. Although there are occasional ninety second history snippets, these sections are largely unencumbered by any form of narration.

First, let me say that the movie has two primary selling points. One, it is a pretty solid exploration of these specific physical processes. If you have an interest in how this art is made, this provides detailed explanation. Second, it is an incredible showcase for art through history. As a virtual slideshow, I loved getting a chance to look at so many works. That said, I'm not sure that the movie would appeal to many outside the niche artistic market. It's almost too slight, too unassuming. What the two pieces of the film puzzle failed to do (for me) was to effectively and strongly bring in the social and political aspects that seem to be a major theme.
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Format: DVD
"Has a work of art ever stopped a bullet?" we are asked in the opening scenes of the fascinating documentary Art is... The Permanent Revolution. Then, printmaker Sigmund Abeles poses his question another way: "Guernica is an incredible painting but did it stop a single bullet? I'm not sure." In fact, this thought-provoking film isn't about the entire range of the fine arts as the title suggests. Manfred Kirchheimer's documentary focuses specifically on the last 500 years of print making as protest. While that may sound like a very narrow topic, the 82-minute film branches off into religious and spiritual themes at every turn.

Here are just some of the provocative branches the film unfolds ...

Were you in the crowds who flocked to see the Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus exhibition that has been touring the U.S. over the past year? The printmakers we meet in The Permanent Revolution open up new perspectives on Rembrandt's vocation by paying more attention to his prints than to his finished paintings. It's in the prints, these artists argue, that we see Rembrandt's most dramatic attempts to turn other-wordly religious figures, such as Jesus and his mother Mary, into real human beings.

Are you part of the Protestant branch of Christianity? The film points out that the roots of contemporary protest prints extend all the way back to early Anabaptist religious propaganda about the tragic torture of their brothers and sisters by the powerful leaders of Catholic and Protestant churches. (Yes, early Protestants also went after the Anabaptists in a lethal way.) To this day, these centuries-old images are preserved and shared in Amish and Hutterite communities--among the contemporary descendants of the early Anabaptists.
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