is a center for contemporary art in Southeast Portland, Oregon. It is led by a desire to support emerging and under-acknowledged contemporary artists, propose new modes of production, and stimulate the ongoing public discourse around art. SUPPORT. 800 SE 10th Avenue, (503) 236-7996. EMAIL.

Friday–Sunday, 11–2pm

MEMBERSHIP

Our programs are not possible without your support. Become a Member of Yale Union today and receive…

BRICK/MORTAR

Contribute to the ongoing renovation of the nationally registered historic Yale Union Laundry Building…

GEORGE KUCHAR

An Exhibition
September 2008–2016?
Always Free

Next Screening: TBD

Yes, George Kuchar (KOO-char) (1942–2011) was way out. How he got out there, we don’t know, but out there, he found the right channel, and it did us a lot of good. He wasn’t a scrubber or a detergent-buyer, he made lo-fi films that felt a little bit dirty. He began making them as a kid with the 8mm camera he and his twin brother, Mike, received for their 12th birthday, with props from their family’s apartment and actors enlisted among friends and neighbors in the Bronx, NY. Even after acceptance (or a kind of industry give-in), he stayed shoe-string. Some of his films are brilliant and unforgettable; others are almost unbelievably crude and incoherent and bad, but Kuchar’s critical reputation over the last three decades hasn’t hinged on a lone chapter. His reputation comes from prolificness and persistence of vision. More than thematic, the body of work is a grouping of concepts—afflicted libidos, special purpose Hollywood send-ups, and melodrama—all overlaid with access roads to his own subliminal freeway. You don’t have to admire his characters to admire Kuchar for the courage and love of form that allowed him to go for broke like this. It’s a “vision” that critics toe-tag as “campy,” i.e., “Although Kuchar was unknown to Susan Sontag at the time she wrote Notes on Camp (1964), she could have been referring to his no-budget pictures with her general description of camp as being ‘serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious. The essence of camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. Camp sees everything in quotation marks. The ultimate camp statement is it’s good because it’s awful.’” (From Ronald Bergan’s obituary of Kuchar in The Guardian)

So, *camp* then, but also something else. Kuchar held on to this “something else” tightly, by its little tentacle, never letting the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of him, or the talkers talk it away. Whatever it was, he held it dear, for he knew that when you lost it you went over by that much more to the others. In an interview from 2009, he got as close as ever to spelling out his motives when he said, “Makin’ pictures, see, sometimes you see a very beautiful person. And the first thing that comes to my mind is, I want to make a movie of that person. ‘Cause I like puttin’ gauzes—ah, cheap, black cloth on the lens with a rubber band—and creating these, what look like 1940s movies, or movies of a beautiful Hollywood style, and blowing these people up bigger than life and making them into gods and goddesses. And I think in the movies that’s a wonderful way of pushing them on the public, and infusing the public with great objects of desire, and dreams, and things of great beauty… living human beings of beauty.”

Totaled, his efforts yielded over 200 ruinously contaminated films! Yale Union will show them until we’ve shown them all, or until we cerebral hemorrhage, or until Oregon slides into the Pacific Ocean. We think it will take seven years, but we can’t be sure. Honestly, we couldn’t think of another way to accommodate his volume; it’s not perfect, but neither is the all-at-once way it’s usually done. It’s a monstrous idea, but not without a measure of truth and joy. So let us try to grapple with it.

George Kuchar by Mary Pacios

Friday, May 30, 8pm
Anthology Film Archives Curator of Collections Andrew Lampert screens:
Portrait of Ramona, 1971, 25 min., 16mm;
footage of the making of Aqueerius, 1980, video;
Aqueerius, 1980, 10 min., 16mm

Thursday, March 13, 2014, 7pm
The Thursday People, 1987, 60 min., video

Saturday, September 7, 7:30pm
At Light Industry, Brooklyn:
Rainy Season, 1987, 29 min., video;
Creeping Crimson, 1987, 13 min., video;
Evangelust, 1987, 35 min., video

Thursday, August 1, 8pm
Kris Cohen selects Sadie Benning’s:
Living Inside, 1989, 5 min., video
Me and Rubyfruit, 1990, 5 min., video
If Every Girl Had a Diary, 1990, 8 min., video
A Place Called Lovely, 1991, 14 min., video
Girlpower, 1992, 15 min., video

Thursday, June 13, 8pm
Maxwell Smith-Holmes selects:
Rainy Season, 1989

Sunday, April 28, 2013, 7pm
Kuchar picture star and editor/publisher of George and Mike’s autobiography Reflections from a Cinematic Cesspool, Mary Pacios introduces:
Portraiture in Black, 1995
Jungle Jezebel, 1994
Mike Kuchar’s Leticia’s Poem, 2002

Thursday, March 14, 2013, 7pm
Eclipse of the Sun Virgin, 1967
Pagan Rhapsody, 1970
A Passage to Wetness, 1990
The Cage of Nicolas, 1994

Monday, November 26, 2012, 7pm
Artist Ashby Lee Collinson introduces:
Portrait of Ramona, 1971 (16mm)
Neil Golderg’s She’s a Talker, 1993
Les Blank’s Gap-Toothed Woman, 1987

Sunday, September 30, 2012, 2pm
Critic Charles Bernstein introduces:
I, of the Cyclops, 2006
Zealots of the Zinc Zone, 2010
Webtide, 2010


Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 7pm
The Devil’s Cleavage, 1975 (16mm)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 7pm
Mongreloid, 1978
Wild Night in El Reno, 1977
Weather Watch, 1991

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 6:30pm
At WESTERN BRIDGE, Seattle
Weather Diary 1, 1986

Monday, March 23, 2012, 7pm
Weather Diary 1, 1986

Monday, September 26, 2011, 7pm
Empire of Evil, 2011
Midnight Carnival, 2011
The Butchered Beefcake, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011, 7pm
Hold Me While I’m Naked, 1966
Secrets of the Shadow World, 1999
Ascension of the Demonoids, 1985
I, An Actress, 1977

Sunday, June 26, 2011, 7pm
We’s A Team, 1989
Zombies of Zanzibar, 2010

Monday, January 31, 2011, 7pm
Delectable Destinations, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010, 7pm
A Reason to Live, 1976
Stench of Satan, 2001

Monday, December 7, 2009, 7pm
Symphony For a Sinner, 1979

Monday, September 21, 2009, 7pm
Orphans of the Cosmos, 2008
Mongreloid, 1978

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 7pm
Faulty Fathoms, 2006
Hush, Hush Sweet Harlot, 1999
I, An Actress, 1977