Visual Studies Workshop is pleased to announce New Utopia, Light Fracture by Luther Price, the latest publication from VSW Press/Film Art Book imprint. This book features images taken from artist Luther Price’s “handmade” 35mm slides with excerpts from texts and emails sent by the artist to Tate Shaw, editor of VSW Press, in 2017 and 2018. The book includes an introduction by curator Ed Halter (Light Industry) who was a close friend of Price, and an afterword by Tate Shaw. 

About Luther Price: 

Luther Price (January 26, 1962 – June 13, 2020) was a prodigious artist whose work unearthed the deepest, darkest corners of the human experience. Working in film, sculpture, and performance, his haunting portrayals are often manifestations of personas drawn from lived traumas, thickly layered with paint, glitter, glue, and bodily fluids. Price’s films are sculptural compositions in which images of eviscerated bodies, raw meat, hardcore gay porn, and laughing clowns occupy the same psychic space as quiet scenes of street corners, blue skies and empty clotheslines.

Born in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Price attended the Massachusetts College of Art in the early 1980’s, where he studied sculpture and performance before turning to Super 8 film after being shot in Nicaragua in 1985. With the support of Super 8 filmmaker Saul Levine, his teacher at MassArt, Price pushed the boundaries of the “home movie” medium, stepping into each role of the fractured family to conjure complicated apparitions on the scratched surface of the film. His practice evolved to include found footage and “handmade film” techniques, incorporating ink, dirt, spit, splices and the process of decay into the production. Price’s work with 16mm found footage is some of the most sophisticated in the tradition, with more than 80 original titles created in the course of his career. In the last decade of his life, Price created breathtaking collages on 35mm slides, combining the techniques he had mastered in his film works to culminate in single frame compositions. A selection of these slides can be seen in New Utopia, Light Fracture by Luther Price

About the book: 

Luther Price came to Visual Studies Workshop as a visiting artist in 2017 to give a week-long workshop on hand-made film. Though the workshop ended tumultuously, Price maintained a sporadic and sometimes fraught correspondence with VSW Press editor Tate Shaw. The project was temporarily tabled, and Price died in 2020 at the age of 58. 

New Utopia, Light Fracture includes images derived from the depths of Price’s 35mm collages, representing some of the most accomplished work of the artists’ career. The sparse text in the book comes solely from Price’s messages to Shaw over a two year period. VSW Press offers an enhanced eBook companion to this publication, which provides access to view both series of 35mm slides digitally. 

Perfect bound softcover, 6.5 x 8.5 inches, 150 pages, 109 color photographs, ISBN 89822-212-5, $50.00

About the tour: 

Tara Nelson, VSW Curator and Associate Editor for the VSW Press/Film Art Book, will be giving a brief talk on the book and presenting both sets of slides at the following events. A second tour is being planned for 2024. 

Tour schedule: 

Thursday October 26, 7-9 pm: New Utopia and Light Fracture: Book Release, Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince Street, Rochester NY 

Saturday, October 28, 6-8 pm: Two Slide Works by Luther Price, Light Industry, 361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn 

Wednesday, November 1, 7:30 pm: Luther Price on Super 8 (film screening, slides will not be shown), Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave, New York NY 

Thursday, November 2, 6-9 pm: New Utopia, Light Fracture, Screening, MassArt, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston

Saturday November 4, 1 pm: Luther Price Slides, Light Matter Experimental Film Festival, Alfred NY 

Contact: Tara Merenda Nelson, Curator, 

All images © Luther Price and Visual Studies Workshop

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