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Gallery shines a light on avant-garde artist-filmmaker Tambellini

Joe Ketner

Alison O’Leary Murray
February 23, 2011

The name Aldo Tambellini may not be as familiar in the art and filmmaking worlds as it once was, but the curator of Emerson’s Huret & Spector Gallery is betting on a renaissance.

“Aldo Tambellini: The Black Films” is the current exhibition at the College’s Huret & Spector Gallery, and will be on view through April 15. 

On display are Tambellini’s Black Films, two of his television productions, and a collection of 1960s ephemera. In total, the exhibit offers the flavor of New York’s Black Gate, which was a breeding ground for avant-garde art. On one poster in the Gallery, the Black Gate is described as “an empty room a testing ground for radical experiences artists of all media are invited to use it for noncommercial experimental purposes to present new work or work in progress to the public.”

“We are on the cusp of an international revival of interest in Aldo.”

Joseph Ketner (pictured above), Emerson’s Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence, said Tambellini’s influence on modern filmmaking is resurging. “He was one of the major independent filmmakers of the 1960s and one of the principal creators of the immersive light-sound environment of the Lower East Side [of Manhattan],” said Ketner.

“Because he is little known, it is interesting to me to watch how young people respond to his work,” he continued. “The trend in contemporary filmmaking is to go back and try recreating analog techniques, and that is what Aldo was at the forefront of. We are on the cusp of an international revival of interest in Aldo.”

Tambellini’s techniques, which included camera-less films that he said would “dislocate the senses of the viewer” directly contributed to Andy Warhol’s Explosive Plastic Inevitable period (1966-67) and his emergence as a multimedia artist, according to Ketner.

The Huret & Spector Gallery was made possible by Bob Huret and College Trustee Judy Spector Huret, MA ’69, in memory of their parents, who were performers and musicians.

Photo credit: Aja Neahring ’13