Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

In Memoriam: Robert Breer (1926-2011)

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

In Memoriam: Robert Breer (1926-2011)

Article excerpt

ROBERT BREER IN PARIS

To discover Breer is like having scales fall from your eyes. It wasn't until I discovered and pursued animation, that curiously obsessive, lonely craft, that I understood just how radical, how liberating Breer, was for animation, film, and art. He made it look like fun.

Bob made early discoveries. He loved to talk about them, at least he did later in life when I got to know him. It didn't matter if he actually heard the question. He just went on a tangent, like a string of frames that didn't logically, but somehow intuitively, followed one to another. So what about being a painter in post-war Paris? He got into seeing his first Klee in San Francisco, on a museum wall instead of projected in an art history class. "It was this big," holding up his fingers in the shape of an index card. But, back to Paris? "I sold a painting to a rich dentist who invited me to see it hung in his house in the 16th Arrondissement" It wasn't on the wall, but after dinner he pushed a button and the painting automatically traveled up the wall on a kind of dumb-waiter. This was die moment Bob realized he had to start doing film. He wanted nothing to do with dumb-waiters. Is this true? Who knows? Bob loved to spin a yarn.

Bob's interest in random display, startlingly evident in Recreation, came from his visits to Jean Arp who claimed he merely let a bunch of color shapes fall to the floor to find a spatial design. …

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