Down Hear: The Films of Mike Henderson

 

Thursday, March 31, 6:00 p.m.
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

Best known as a painter and blues guitarist, San Francisco–based artist Mike Henderson produced a remarkable body of experimental and performance-driven films starting in the mid 1960s through the 1980s. Politically charged and often wickedly funny, Henderson's productions range from improvisational compositions and absurd musings to powerful "talking blues films" about blackness and black experience. Henderson presents a program from across his two decades with the medium, including the hilarious and conceptually pointed Dufus (1970/1973) and powerful Down Hear (1972), which tells the history of slave shipping through a charged performance by Henderson and his brother Raymond. Restored prints courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

1970–83, USA, 16mm, ca 75 min + discussion

Mike Henderson (Marshall, MO) moved to California in the mid 1960s to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, the first racially integrated art school in the United States, where he received his BFA in 1969 and MFA in 1970. Henderson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Award. His paintings have been exhibited throughout the US, including at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA). Henderson is an an accomplished blues guitarist and has performed at music halls and festivals around the world. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. He lives and works in San Leandro. 

 

Mike Henderson, still from Down Hear, 1972. Image courtesy of the artist and the Academy Film Archive