Art of Darkness: How Bigelow made the year’s most controversial movie
My cover story for Time Magazine, in which I find out about Kathryn’s early years in the ’70s New York art scene and also interview Jessica Chastain, Jamie Lee Curtis, Willem Dafoe and Lawrence Weiner.
“Sometime in the late 1970s, the young visual artist Kathryn Bigelow had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend-of-a-friend by the name of Andy Warhol. “Andy was saying that film is way more populist than art—that art’s very elitist, so you exclude a large audience,” she recalls. Not long after, Bigelow visited the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City, paying special attention to Kazimir Malevich’s white-on-white Suprematist Composition and Piet Mondrian’s color-block grids. “I remember thinking, ‘The audience for this is very specific,’” Bigelow says over lunch in her hotel suite at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, not far from MOMA. “A Malevich or a Mondrian requires that you come to it with a certain amount of information, a context. And you don’t need that with film. A movie is accessible, available. That was exciting to me from a political standpoint.”
Jessica Winter is executive editor of newyorker.com and a former editor at Slate and Time. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Bookforum, The Believer, and many other publications. She lives with her family in Flatbush, Brooklyn.