Wednesday 19 August 2009

'Beautiful Losers' screening at the ICA

Earlier this week I found myself running full pelt from Charring X station to The Mall where I was predictably running late for the ICA screening of ‘Beautiful Losers’. Directed by Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonard this documentary film charts the journeys of a number of likeminded creative’s who emerged on the American art scene in the early 1990s.

‘Beautiful Losers’ depicts a group of relative misfits who explored subcultures such as skateboarding, graffiti, comics, and punk using this as a base to create art work that reflected their lives and childhoods. ‘Beautiful Losers’ subtly reflects on their journeys from obscurity to the moment they gravitated towards to Alleged Gallery in New York where they found a well connected promoter and enthusiast in gallery owner and director of ‘Beautiful Losers’ Aaron Rose. Inspite of many not having received formal art training with the help of Aaron their work would go on to redefine the culture of modern art.

With this very intimate documentary it is clear to see that each of the artists have an incredible and lengthy relationship with Rose both as individuals and a collective which is perhaps why they were so open on camera. The documentary shows each member of the collective revisiting places they hung out as kids and places that inspired them.

I really loved this documentary film and the energy that the artist’s creativity brought to life and also to the audience as everyone I spoke with after the screening felt really inspired and went away feeling as though they wanted to do more; to create art for themselves as the ‘Beautiful Losers’ had done. To them it wasn’t about the trappings of the New York art scene or the press, it originated as a way for them to express themselves and to make a very modest living doing something they loved.
For weeks I was very excited about seeing ‘Beautiful Losers’ as I knew that it depicted a group of friends and artists from the early 1990s and already in my head I had visions of them living similar disengaged lives to those depicted in Larry Clark’s cult 1995 film Kids. As Larry cast Kids, with non acting youths from the streets of New York I knew that ‘Beautiful Losers’ would capture the same sentiments, ideologies and feeling of teenage angst. Another reason I drew such parallels was because Kids was co-written with Harmony Korine, who of course was in ‘Beautiful Losers’ as one of the most successful of their group dabbling in cinema, screen writing and art.

A stunning and inspirational story, very heart felt in parts and definitely worth watching.
‘Beautiful Losers’ is available to buy on DVD from 24th August.
Image courtesy of Beautiful Losers official website, clip courtesy of YouTube.

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