Visitors enjoy the 2011 MFA Graduate Exhibition at the Winery SF on Treasure Island.

Walter and McBean Galleries

Living in Studio Kuchar
Thursday, March 8 - Saturday, April 21, 2012
Walter and McBean Galleries
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00am - 6:00pm
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco,

Living in Studio Kuchar highlights the inimitable genius of independent film legend and SFAI faculty member George Kuchar, who died in September 2011. Coinciding with the exhibition, a campus-wide special event, SFAI Celebrates the Life and Work of George Kuchar, will follow the opening reception on March 8. 

Kuchar’s wildly original vision—tawdry yet tender, perversely humorous, and deeply personal—fueled a body of work spanning more than 200 films and videos, as well as paintings, drawings, comics, and writing. Beloved by generations of students, Kuchar had taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1971, where he and his students in “AC/DC Psychotronic Teleplays” and the sequel course “Electro-graphic Sinema” made melodrama parodies with minuscule budgets and remarkable spirit.

Living in Studio Kuchar situates Kuchar’s work in the specific locale and community of SFAI, which for four decades served as a site of experimentation and collaboration; a network of students, filmmakers, and friends; and his emotional home. The exhibition will transform the galleries into an active experience for audiences: Installations will reproduce Kuchar’s home studio, and there will be a self-serve VHS tape viewing area, a listening station of soundtrack records from Kuchar’s collection, and an interactive filmmaking space where visitors are invited to use costumes and props to make their own Kuchar-esque films.

Other works on view will include seminal films such as Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966), ranked as one of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Century by the Village Voice; class films made with SFAI students; selections from the long-running project “Weather Diaries” (including Hot Spell, the last video Kuchar completed before his death in September 2011); and drawings and comics. The exhibition will also feature videos by both local and international artists—John Waters, Todd Solondz, Lisa Blatt, Miguel Calderon, Tim Sullivan, and Nao Bustamante, among others—that focus on Kuchar’s influence and mentorship.

Born in New York in 1942, Kuchar began making 8mm movies in the 1950s with his twin brother, Mike. They soon became central to the underground, avant-garde film scene, screening work alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage. Critic Roger Ebert has called the Kuchars “legends in the world of experimental film,” and theorist Gene Youngblood named George one of the great artists in the history of the moving image.

Kuchar's film and video work has screened around the globe in cinemas, festivals, and major museums. Recent honors include the exhibition George Kuchar: Pagan Rhapsodies at MoMA PS1 in New York; the addition of his 1977 short film I, An Actress to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry; and his selection for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, to be held March 1 through May 27, 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.