The Rapidian

UICA houses movie theater for art film seekers

UICA theater manager talks about the vision for their state of the art theater downtown GR. The most recent film shown was "Gerard Richter Painting," and coming up next is "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview."
The theater at the UICA

The theater at the UICA /courtesy of the UICA

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Upcoming film screenings at the UICA

June 8-10: Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview

June 12: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

June 15-16: Un Seconde Par Jour with Richard Negre

June 29-July 1: Indie Game: The Movie

July 18: Shut Up and Play the Hits


Gerard Richter paints on a canvas

Gerard Richter paints on a canvas /courtesy of Gerard Richter Painting

Located on the corner of Division and Fulton downtown Grand Rapids, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts hosts exhibitions from artists around the world. It also is home to a state-of-the-art movie theater that seats 198 people.

“The theatre is modeled after a standard art-house/independent theatre program. We play primarily first-run films, which are films not available on DVD,” explained Ryan Dittmer, theater and facilities manager at the UICA.

The UICA has been trying to experiment with showing films that correspond to the exhibits. The current exhibit “Urbanity,” says Dittmer, “has had three films shown monthly during the course of the exhibition: Dark DaysUrban Roots, and The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.”

“The goal of UICA's theatre is to become a center/resource for the appreciation of film in West Michigan. We want to exhibit new, provocative film that comments on where the medium [of film] is going,” said Dittmer.

The latest film shown was “Gerard Richter Painting,” a film chronicling the life of multi-faceted artist Gerard Richter. In the film, which is mostly in German with English subtitles, director Corinna Belz followed Richter around over the course of two years. Much of the film is very quiet, with only the sound of Richter smearing or scraping paint on his canvas being heard.

The film details the progression of how Richter creates his abstract paintings. He begins by coating the canvas with a thick coat of colors. He continues by spreading the colors around, using long brush strokes at seemingly random angles. After this comes a long process of scraping and smearing the colors around until he is satisfied with how the piece looks.  

This rather simple approach allows Richter to produce abstract work that speaks to many. Tom Long, in his article from the Detroit News, wrote about the film, “'Gerhard Richter Painting' is a stirring portrait of an artist in search of his art — the mystery of the process, the beauty of the hunt and the wonder of discovery.”

The next showing at the theater is "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview," which is screening this weekend, June 8-10.

For more information on the UICA's films, visit their website. 

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