Jim Dine: Poet Singing


This documentary video charts the creative process of an installation by Jim Dine that was inspired by antiquities in the Getty Villa’s collection. From the outset this video was meant to complement the Villa’s first contemporary-art exhibition by showing the artist’s dynamic creative process, and serve as enduring documentation that would memorialize this unique project.

Viewers are confronted with Dine’s larger than life sculptural figures based on tiny Greek terra-cotta sculptures (Statuette of a Dancer and Statuette of a Dancer Playing the Lyre) in the Getty Villa’s collection. Their arrangement around a seven-foot-high self-portrait head echoes the sculptural group Poet as Orpheus with Two Sirens.

In the video he explains how modern techniques were used to make the jump in scale. By engaging the artist at work, the viewer is brought into the intense discourse of art as a timeless expression of humanity. His combination of oversized sculptures and hand written poetry on the walls creates a powerful experience that polarizes many viewers.

The documentary succeeds by bringing the viewer into the creative process behind an unscripted, site-specific installation. It offers a great opportunity to experience the exhibition and find inspiration in ancient art. The video captures Jim Dine not so much talking about creativity, but creating. The resulting narrative is a testament to the complex interplay between ancient and contemporary art.

The video was displayed in a room adjacent to the exhibition, the museum’s orientation theater, video kiosks and distributed through multiple online channels.

Produced for The J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition Jim Dine: Poet Singing (The Flowering Sheets) in 2008.

Video displayed on interactive video kiosks in the exhibition, the museum’s orientation theater, and multiple online channels.

Directors: Hillman Curtis and Paco Link
Producer: Lien Nguyen
Cinematographer: Ben Wolf
Production Coordinator: Keeli Shaw
Editors: Maria Gilbert and Sahar Tchaitchian