Mike Kuchar | Saints and Sinners
Franςois Ghebaly present “Saints and sinners” of Mike Kuchar, plus the screening of “Sins of the Fleshapoids”, the first presentation in HD of his 1965 seminal and solo directorial debut. Kuchar, in fact, is well-known as an American underground filmmaker and actor and he is notable for his low-budget and camp films such as Sins of the Fleshapoids and The Craven Sluck. But He is also a visual artist and in L.A. he is represented by François Ghebaly. Below I republish the artist’s biography taken from the gallery’s website.
“As an illustrator, my aim is to amuse the eye and ‘spark’ imagination. To soothe with sensual lines and excite with color. To create titillating scenes that refresh the soul and put a bit more ‘fun’ to viewing pictures.” —Mike Kuchar
Throughout his life Mike has drawn, prodigiously, an equally amplified world of exaggerated characters. Influenced by his time with 19th century French paintings, natural history museums, New York and San Francisco gay underground and American comic culture, drafting exquisite scenes of Man throughout history. The drawings made from the late 1970s to the mid-2000s for various homoerotic comic publications in the US, include Meatmen, Manscape, Gay Heart Throbs, and First Hand, among others. Mike’s films and illustrations have been exhibited internationally.
Director, cinematographer, visual artist, writer, and underground film legend Mike Kuchar was born in New York City in 1942, and began making 8mm home movies starring friends and family with his twin brother George at age 12 in the Bronx. They became central to the 1960s NY underground film scene, screening work alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Jack Smith. Called “legends in the world of experimental film” by Roger Ebert, the Kuchars have influenced filmmaking giants including John Waters, Todd Solondz, Pedro Almodovar, and Atom Egoyan.
Mike attended commercial art high school with the likes of Gerard Malanga of the Warhol factory and worked as a fashion photo retoucher while making his own 16mm movies of which Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965) and The Craven Sluck (1967) are most noted for their camp quality. In the past 10 years, Mike has focused on more intimate one person expressionistic films. He coauthored, with his brother George REFLECTIONS FROM A CINEMATIC CESSPOOL published in 1997, a humorous memoir discussing four decades of filmmaking and including an introduction by director John Waters. Mike and George Kuchar were the co-recipients of the ‘Vanguard Director Award’ at the 11th CineVegas Film Festival, and recipient of the 2009 FRAMELINE ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
In a 2008 Artforum review on the Kuchar’s exhibition, critic Bruce Hainley deemed Mike and George, “two of the most important artists this country has ever produced.”