Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs

Star Spangled to Death

27 March–29 May 201027 Mar–29 May 2010

Ken Jacobs recently released Star Spangled to Death, an epic six-and-a-half-hour cine-collage that he began making in 1956. It has been described as ‘an exhaustive, sprawling history of America … as seen through the eyes of those on the margins’. Star Spangled to Death maps everything that fascinates and distresses the filmmaker about his country, presenting America as imbroglio of warped ideologies. The film intercuts found footage (including a Nelson Rockefeller campaign film, inflammatory racist cartoons, and old-time nudie shorts) with whimsical footage Jacobs shot between 1957 and 1959 featuring two of his outcast artist pals: avant-garde legend Jack Smith, who wanders the streets dressed in outfits improvised from garbage seeking to engage strangers, and frustrated tenement-dweller Jerry Sims, who complains endlessly about anything and everything. The New York Times called it ‘the ultimate underground movie, subversive, and frequently hilarious’.

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.