New to DVD this week:
PAT STEIR: ARTIST
Veronica Gonzalez Peña
New York Jewish 2019
A portrait of conceptual abstract painter Pat Steir.
Pat Steir emerged as a painter in the 1970s as part of a wave of pioneering feminist artists, but committed to her own abstract and conceptual work rather than using overt political imagery. In this free-flowing portrait, now in her 70s, she reflects on her career, art, process, and, mostly, other notable artists who were part of her circle. While Steir showcases her technique of conceptual abstraction – mostly consisting of her dumping buckets of paint at the tops of canvasses and letting gravity dictate what happens – the artist spends a lot of time discussing collaborators John Cage, Sol LeWitt, and Agnes Martin, sometimes drawing linkages to her own practice, but often just reminiscing and offering her perspective on their work and methods. Supplementing present day footage, filmmaker Veronica Gonzalez Peña intermittently turns to a past interview in which Steir reflects on her decision to become an artist, discusses feminism, and notes how gender informed her work and her placement within the art world. As a whole, the project feels a bit repetitive and gives short shrift to Steir’s own work and artistic process, trading what could have been a more comprehensive approach for a familiar but less enlightening one.