Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Jack Smith has been simultaneously hailed as the godfather of performance art, the William Blake of film, and a photographer who has "influenced three decades of artists." While largely unknown in mainstream circles today, Jack Smith was central to a period when American culture finally began to question itself. (Tongue Press) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. A love poem to the New York City of the '50s and '60s, when Smith, the visionary of camp (Andy Warhol stole from him), more or less invented performance art.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Vibrant, funny and tragic documentary.
  3. 83
    If modern art-lovers want to understand what the Jack Smith experience was like, Jordan's documentary may be their best chance.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    70
    An insightful and incisive portrait of a self-destructive paranoid artist whose importance is partly hidden by his own divisive nature.
  5. It's Jordan’s feat to make a linear, talking-heads documentary (among the heads are Jonas Mekas, Robert Wilson, John Waters, Nick Zedd, and John Zorn) that still manages to evoke something of Smith's floating, ravishingly colorful dreamscapes--a menagerie of creatures that, even as they're captured on film, are already fading into the air.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Halter
    70
    Jordan's interviews, from John Zorn to John Waters, all attest to Smith's reputation as a pivotal influence on film, performance art, gallery installation, and photography; as Richard Foreman once declared, everybody stole from Jack.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    50
    Ms. Jordan lets a few subjects contradict the image of Mr. Smith as martyr, but the overall tone is worshipful verging on reductive. You come away impressed by Smith's charisma, versatility and integrity, while also wondering if a man so abrasively self-important could have made such playful art.

See all 11 Critic Reviews