On the occasion of Gallery Weekend Los Angeles and Matt Saunders's exhibition The Distances, Blum & Poe is pleased to present a rare screening of Jack Smith’s underground cult classic Normal Love (1963–65). The film will begin with a video introduction by Matt Saunders, followed by a screening on 16 mm film.
Matt Saunders describes the current exhibition on view, The Distances, as an “introspective retrospective” or a “sentimental education”—mining themes the artist focused on early in his career, such as the performativity and fluidity of gender as manifested through various generations.
Jack Smith, an American filmmaker and artist (1932–1989), skillfully blended the glitz of Hollywood's Golden Age with the raw essence of underground culture, making him an enduring icon for future generations. In 1963, Smith created Normal Love, a captivating feature-length film that drew inspiration from horror movies of the 1930s and 40s, as well as the work of Maria Montez, a B-movie star of Dominican origin. Normal Love weaves an imaginative narrative with an ensemble of extraordinary characters, such as a mermaid portrayed by Mario Montez, who fittingly adopted the stage name as a tribute to the renowned actress. Additionally, Angus MacLise, the original drummer of the New York band the Velvet Underground, brought life to the enigmatic mummy character. The film was a visual feast, filmed in vibrant colors with elaborate sets, featuring a remarkable giant cake designed by Claes Oldenburg.