To some, Clarence Schmidt (1897-1978) was an endearing Santa Claus-sized man, and to others he was the grandfather of pop art. Whatever your position, no one can deny his outrageous take on life in the 1960s. His colossal “House of Mirrors” (HOM) ranged up a hillside atop Ohayo Mountain. It consisted of seven stories of tiered window frames and balconies with runways and gardens. Parts of it incorporated found objects from area landfills like car bumpers, wheels, bicycles, lawnmowers, guitars, saw blades, Rheingold (his favorite) beer cans and doll parts. The latter were thoughtfully donated by Kevin Sweeney of Simulaids. All these bits and pieces of our waste-driven society were artfully placed and curated by Schmidt into a pleasing shrine called home.
On August 13, 2011 at 1 p.m. the Historical Society of Woodstock plans to hold a special screening of Jud Yalkut’s films, Clarence and Aquarian Rushes, at Upstate Films in Woodstock. Yalkut, an award-winning film and visual artist, will be on hand to introduce his work. Clarence is a short 16 mm experimental piece on Clarence Schmidt. Schmidt was a local sculptor and pop icon who lived in a found-art house atop Ohayo Mountain. His seven-story house was the subject of a Life Magazine article in the 1960s. The film includes some of the only footage taken of Clarence while living in his home—before it burned down in the winter of 1967 to 1968. The sound is by Mel Lyman, Jim Kweskin and the Lyman Family, and includes a narrative by Clarence Schmidt. The work was selected for the “Anthropological Film” program at the Film Forum in New York City and the “Flick Out” broadcast series on educational television in Houston, Texas. The second work on the bill, Aquarian Rushes, is 47-minute film and videotape of the Woodstock Festival of 1969. This film was selected for the Montreal International Festival of Film in 16 mm at the Musée des Beaux Arts; the Encounter with The American Cinema at Sorrento, Italy (selection of Martin Scorsese); and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris American Underground Film Weekend. Read the rest of this entry »