John Zorn plays Harry Smith 

Oct 20–21, 2023

Floor 3, Theater

Friday, October 20 
8 pm

Saturday, October 21 
4 pm

This visually and sonically explosive event brings together artist Harry Smith’s kaleidoscopic experimental films with the unique musical accompaniment of composer John Zorn and his ensemble. The screening features a selection of Smith’s short films, which Zorn first saw as a teenage audience member at underground screenings. Fusing sound and image, Zorn’s improvised scores pick up on the spiritual undertones and optical overload of Smith’s colorful swirling collages.

Both Zorn and Smith are polymathic artists who have made an indelible mark on New York’s downtown avant-garde culture. They are connected by their shared fascination with formal and structural explorations, magick and mysticism, and by their omnivorous approaches to a wide range of historic materials, which each artist transforms through his own signature alchemical artistry.

John Zorn, a native New Yorker, has been a central figure in the downtown scene since the mid-1970s. An acclaimed saxophonist, Zorn’s voluminous and highly regarded compositional output spans just about every known genre and is regularly performed by a wide range of jazz, rock, hardcore punk, classical, klezmer, and improvising musicians. Designated the first Composer-In-Residence at Anthology Film Archives, Zorn has composed a pitch-perfect set of new scores for classic avant-garde films in that institution’s celebrated Essential Cinema repertory screening series.

John Zorn, saxophone
Ikue Mori, computer
Jorge Roeder, bass
Kenny Grohowski, drums 

Film No. 16: Oz: The Tin Woodman’s Dream, 1967, 15 minutes.
Restored by Anthology Film Archives and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

Film No. 15 (Untitled animation of Seminole patchwork patterns), c. 1965-66, 10 minutes.
Restored by Anthology Film Archives.

Film No. 11: Mirror Animations, c. 1957, 4 minutes.
Restored by Anthology Film Archives.

Early Abstractions [Film Nos. 1-5, 7, 10], c. 1946-1957, 23 minutes.
Restored by Anthology Film Archives.

Public programs for Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: The Art of Harry Smith developed in consultation with Andrew Lampert.

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

Learn more about access services and programs.