sam bassett.

New York artist Sam Bassett takes portraits to the next level. Blending the feel of installation art with plan ol’ ethereal awesomeness, he shoots his subjects in a way that manages to be about them while also immersing them into something that transcends them as well. The results are completely kick-ass images that encompass more than who a person is and what they do, but creates an energy and atmosphere of how what they’ve done has shaped their life. The environment of the portrait becomes a reflection of them as a whole – their history and accomplishments – rather than just a documentation of their physical appearance.

bassett10

bassett2

bassett3

bassett4

bassett5

bassett6

bassett7

bassett71

bassett8

This is one of my favourites, of celebrity author, Vanity Fair journalist, and all around bon vivant Dominick Dunne. I’m not sure what he’s trying to do to that concrete sphere, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’s witty.

bassett9

Bassett is also a prolific film-maker, creating eight films in 2008 alone, focusing on the eclectic, idiosyncratic, and fascinating minds of individuals, like himself, who don’t fit inside the box; some of whom are also subjects of his photographs. Unabashed and unafraid, his films and their subjects feel like a study of abnormalcy; a glorious refusal to follow societal norms and a determined passion to follow their own beat. Bassett is like that too, and so a camaraderie and connection is formed. A sort of freakshow fraternity, where art and irreverence and the pursuit of one’s own mould-breaking ideal are paramount, and ostensibly mandatory for membership. Whatever the rules, I want in this club. I want to pledge.

For proof of just how fucking rad abandoning yourself to your own idea of creation can really be, check out “Let Me Introduce Myself.” It’s not necessarily about making sense, it’s about making art. And if Bassett makes it, I will watch.

Comments

  1. Scam Bassett says:

    Sorry to disagree folks, but regarding Sam Bassett’s “new” documentary, its not so much the film’s message that’s objectionable — its the messenger — and what Bassett conveniently omits from his story are the ways in which he’s very carelessly contributed to Storme Delarverie’s incarceration in a Brooklyn nursing home while he pretends to be an activist for her cause.

    It was Bassett who accompanied Storme to Court for a competency evaluation in 2009, and insisted upon becoming her legal guardian. This, of course, was prior to Bassett’s own eviction from the Hotel Chelsea. Rather than guardianship, Bassett was granted a degree of oversight and the court placed merely two stipulations on Storme which, once accomplished, would result in her stabilized monthly rent being paid by charitable organizations, and a return to normalcy.

    That pair of stipulations were:

    1) She was to clean up her living quarters to some degree and,
    2) She was to receive a basic medical checkup.

    Bassett volunteered — as a matter of record — to assist Storme with these tasks. But whether because he didn’t get the media attention he craves or for some other reason all his own, Bassett essentially abandoned the woman — and the court’s directives along with her. Bassett did precisely nothing to assist Storme in the coming six months while he fought for his own survival as a Hotel Chelsea tenant and moved on to his other “documentary” subjects. Bassett communicated with none of Storme’s neighbors working to assist her on a daily basis, nor those holding Ms. Delarverie’s power of attorney, and he left the court to assume that the relatively simple tasks it appointed to him were being accomplished.

    It was only when Storme fell ill from dehydration in March 2010 that the true impact of what Bassett had done — or rather, what he hadn’t bothered to do — became felt. And then Bassett himself was gone from the Hotel Chelsea, his signature affixed to an overdue rent stipulation and Storme shuffled off to a run-down facility whose only qualification for keeping her, according to her former caseworkers at SAGE, was that they had an open bed.

    So once more Sam Bassett wants to be a champion for Storme’s rights.

    Perhaps more accurately, Bassett is a champion for his half-finished film project, and he’s still searching for an ending. While Storme’s case is one that revolves around legal standing, Bassett shows his colors by soapboxing on behalf of his film instead of using the court-appointed oversight he lobbied for to engage lawyers and force this dispute back into a courtroom where it belongs.

    The truth is that if Sam Bassett had spent half the time helping Storme as he did snapping cameras in her face, she most certainly wouldn’t be where she is now. There are many others who share this perspective — folks who don’t have a stake in promoting themselves or their photography books and films. Only Storme’s well being.

  2. Repost of Media Alert. The above was mistakenly posted – apologies for any inconvenience. — Thank you

    SAM BASSETT FILM

    MEDIA ALERT

    CONTACT:

    Rosally Sapla at 212 751 3321 dir / 917 969 7483 mbl / email: rsapla@groupsjr.com

    Alaina Simone at 917 941 2245 mbl / email: alainasimone@sambassett.com

    SAM BASSETT PRESENTS THE NEW YORK PREMIERE

    OF “SEVEN FEATURE FILMS”

    A rare and intimate first look at the director’s documentary film series exploring

    cross-generational relationships with seven larger-than-life friends

    WHAT: Filmmaker, photographer, and contemporary artist Sam Bassett presents “Seven Feature Films,” a seven-night private film festival of films directed, shot, produced and edited by Bassett. Each evening a single-subject feature length non-fiction film will be screened for an invite-only audience in the artist’s private residential rooftop garden atop the Hotel Chelsea. Overall, the festival seeks to truthfully explore and celebrate America’s rich cultural history of individuality. Presented in order of creation, the film series studies the diverse American ideologies and archetypes through the lens of Bassett’s unique cross-generational friendships with seven different individuals.

    Mon 7/20 “Cowboy Stan” (87 min): The charming East Village native

    Tues 7/21 “Bettina” (87 min): A spellbinding virtuoso, Bettina Bashyi.

    Wed 7/22 “Ira Cohen” (120 min): Literary lion/avant guard artist, Ira Cohen.

    Thu 7/23 “Columbia” (85 min): A gate crashing impersonator with a heart of gold

    Fri 7/24 “Constance” (90 min): Elegant grandmother of Sam Bassett reveals family history

    Sat 7/25 “Storme” (85 min): America’s first drag king and woman who helped to start modern gay rights movement.

    Sun 7/26 “Stanley Bard” (80 min): Curatorial force behind The Hotel Chelsea for fifty years

    WHERE: Historic landmark, The Hotel Chelsea @ 222 West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Rooftop garden of Sam Bassett’s personal residence/studio. Special instructions for access provided upon RSVP.

    WHEN: Monday, July 20 – Sunday, July 27. Seven night film festival. Each screening opens with a cocktail reception from 8:00 to 9:00 PM. One film will be screened each evening starting at dusk or approximately 9:36 PM, A brief audience Q&A with the director and subject following the screening (Press interviews will be arranged upon request).

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:

    To RSVP for the event, attendees should email alainasimone@sambassett.com andrsapla@groupsjr.com.

    Invitation is non-transferable. Limited seating available. Special instructions for access will be provided upon confirmation of RSVP.

    ABOUT SAM BASSETT

    Sam Bassett is a filmmaker, photographer and contemporary artist, whose work represents the passion and intensity garnered from his past experience as a skateboarder, childhood magician, teenage pilot, and captain of the 2000 Syracuse University National Championship Lacrosse Team. His work frequently appears in publications and has been featured in The New York Times, Juxtapoz, GQ, and Flaunt. His films have been featured at the Berlin Film Festival and The Phoenix Art Museum. Notably, Bassett was the last tenant hand picked by Stanley Bard at the conclusion of his fifty year tenure as manager of The Hotel Chelsea.

    # # #

  3. SAM BASSETT FILM
     
    MEDIA ALERT
     
    CONTACT:
    Rosally Sapla at 212 751 3321 dir / 917 969 7483 mbl / email: rsapla@groupsjr.com
    Alaina Simone at 917 941 2245 mbl / email: alainasimone@sambassett.com
     
     
    Sam Bassett presents New York Premiere
    of “Seven Nights @ The Hotel Chelsea Rooftop”
     
    Rare first look at acclaimed young director’s seven film series studying cross-generational friendships with his seven larger-than-life friends
     
    WHAT: In late July 2009, for the first time, director/photographer Sam Bassett presents “Seven Nights @ The Hotel Chelsea Rooftop,” a deeply personal single-subject documentary film series. Bassett’s seven films, shot, produced and edited over six months, study the diverse American ideologies and archetypes through the lens of his unique cross-generational friendships with his subjects. The premiere offers a rare and emotionally intimate visit with elusive characters of past American generations — from a charming East Village “cowboy”, to the woman who inadvertently launched the modern gay movement, and a world renown poet, filmmaker and photographer weighing the cost of creative expression.  Presented in order of creation, the series forms the director’s own story as he tries to learn and create a vehicle for his subjects to tell America’s rich cultural history of freedom and struggle in the modern age. Screened at the historic hotel, known as the birthplace of modern creative art, the series culminates in the telling of The Hotel Chelsea’s former owner Stanley Bard’s relationship with the director, who he handpicked as the hotel’s last permanent resident. Admission is free, upon invite in response to RSVP. Limited seating available.
     
    WHERE: World-famous landmark, The Hotel Chelsea @ 222 West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Rooftop garden. Special instructions for access provided upon RSVP.
     
    WHEN:  Monday, July 20 – Sunday, July 27. Each screening opens with a cocktail reception from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. One film will be screened each night starting at dusk or approximately 8:00PM, presented in the order of creation. A brief audience Q&A with the director and subject of the respective subject will immediately follow the screening (Press interviews will be arranged and expedited upon request).
     
    Mon 7/20 Cowboy Stan, 87 minutes
    Tue 7/21-Bettina, 87 minutes
    Wed 7/22-Ira Cohen, 120 minutes
    Thu 7/23-Columbia, 85 minutes
    Fri 7/24-Constance, 90 minutes
    Sat 7/25-Storme, 85 minutes
    Sun 7/26-Stanley, 80 minutes
     
     WHO:  Media are invited for a special screening series by independent avant-garde film director Sam Bassett. Each night, Sam Bassett and the subject of the film will be present to offer insight and background into the making of the film, the impact and of what he or she hopes each viewer will take away. Open to the general public upon invite only due to limited seating available.
     
    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:
    To RSVP for the event, prospective attendees should email alainasimone@sambassett.com.
     
    ABOUT SAM BASSETT
    Sam Bassett is a filmmaker, photographer and contemporary artist, whose films express the same passion and intensity from his past as a childhood magician, teenage pilot, an All-American captain of the championship 2000 Syracuse University National Lacrosse Team. His work frequently appears in the world’s top fashion and lifestyle publications and has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue’s Style.com, GQ, Maxim, Flaunt, and Marie Clare, among numerous other publications and best-selling book covers. His films were featured in the Berlin Film Festival, Evil City Film Festival, and have been screened at the MoMA in Phoenix, Arizona. Notably, Bassett was the last tenant hand picked by Stanley Bard at the end of his fifty year reign as owner of The Hotel Chelsea, symbolizing the end to one of the most prolific eras of art history. Bassett lives and works in the penthouse suite of the legendary hotel.
     
     # # #

  4. jeffmadden says:

    Excellent portraiture.

    Very impressive.

Whatcha Thinkin?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 125 other followers