Museum of Photographic Arts

San Diego, CA


photo: John Hazeltine


Scott Marks Is First Museum of Photographic Arts Film Curator


The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) has named Scott Marks, a Chicago-based film teacher, historian and exhibitor, as its first film curator announced Arthur Ollman, Director of MoPA. Marks will begin his post in January 2000 with a premier program anticipated in the spring.

Marks will program and manage a 238-seat theater featuring a broad spectrum of films, including domestic and foreign, historic and premiers, as well as documentaries. Plans include major film series, complemented with presentations by visiting directors, actors and cinematographers, festivals and open competitions that will encourage and showcase new talent and innovative methods within the international film community and regularly scheduled installations of contemporary video. The only other film curator position in a United States photography museum is at the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. (left: Scott Marks, photo by Sandy Wagner, 1999)

"I've been thrilled by the quality of people we have drawn to work here," said Ollman. "Scott is one of the most knowledgeable and persuasive advocates for film I have ever encountered."
With an extensive background in teaching and exhibiting film, Marks designed and taught film history and aesthetic courses at Columbia College in Chicago between 1986 and 1998. One highlight at Columbia featured Marks leading an exclusive three-hour interview with Jerry Lewis for the students and faculty. In addition, he wrote critical reviews and managed film theaters, including the LaSalle Theater, Chicago's longest running revival house.

"Scott's enthusiasm for the history and technology of the medium and the diversity of film discourse is extraordinary," said Ollman, "He has the desire and interesting ideas about how to create, not just run, our film programs."

In Chicago, MoPA's new curator is a regular contributor to Film Fridays on National Public Radio's (NPR) local program "Odyssey" as well as being profiled on NPR's arts compendium "Anthem." Most recently, Marks organized a series of interviews with filmmakers for the Chicago Historical Society's upcoming exhibition "Go West! Chicago and Westward Expansion". In addition, he maintains an extensive private archive of rare motion picture publicity material.

"I'm overjoyed with the opportunity to present San Diego audiences with a rich cinematic heritage," said Marks. "I want to mix film programs that appeal to everyone and provide a haven for top-quality film-going -- everything from Jean Renoir to Popeye to documentaries, with a full range of American and foreign works. We will be showing older movies and also some new ones."


The new theater at MoPA...

The long-awaited film curator appointment is the first of its kind as the Museum expands to include a major cinema facility. The new theater at MoPA is named in honor of Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who donated $I million in support of the Museum's renovation and expansion.

"By quadrupling our space, we will make a quantum leap in the range and sophistication of our programs," said Ollman. "With a 238-seat state-of-the-art theater and a cinema curator on board, motion pictures--the child of photography--will become an integral part of that programming. The theater will be a focal point of the new museum and, we expect, a gathering place for film and video audiences throughout San Diego and beyond."

As one of only a handful of museums in America devoted exclusively to the photographic arts, MoPA has, from the beginning, seen its mandate as the presentation and preservation of the entire spectrum of photographic arts, including photography, film and video.

"Once I saw that the theater could handle all types of film and video," said Marks, "and projecting in all aspect ratios, I was hooked."
The theater's technical capabilities are remarkable in scope. Fully equipped to project 16mm and 35 mm film, the Museum will be able to screen all cinema, from D.W. Griffith's silent films to current cinema. In addition, the theater is designed for video and slide projection, as well as computer-generated images, lending technical support to visiting lecturers.

Virtually the entire world population communicates through film and video. Certainly these channels have influenced American society with greater impact than any other art media. This four-fold expansion will allow the Museum to realize significant goals set at its beginnings. Building on the international reputation for excellence established during the past 16 years, MoPA looks forward to sharing with greater audiences than ever this richest of 20th-century media.

Read more about the Museum of Photographic Arts in Resource Library Magazine

rev. 11/22/10

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