Sodom (1989–1994)

Luther Price

Sodom Luther Price USAS8mm > digital13 min1989–1994

In these entrancingly delicate, implicitly violent works, life, chance, obsessive art making, and an intense artistic psyche descended from Pollock, Rauschenberg, and Jack Smith—if not Hercules Segers—flashes before your eyes. – Roberta Smith 

In the era of identity politics when many were concerned with projecting positive images of queer life to counter ongoing demonization by Hollywood, programmers didn’t know what to make of a film like Sodom. It was rejected by some of the most prominent gay festivals of its day, thereby becoming a flashpoint for controversy. In an editorial in the San Francisco Cinematheque’s journal Cinematograph, Michael Wallin defended Sodom as a work of formidable emotion and deep ambiguity, comparable to Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks or Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’amour, an “exploration… of the complex, contradictory nature of sexuality itself. Power, control, brutality—all are there, companions to lust and pleasure—even the sex and death equation, whether related to AIDS or not.” – Ed Halter

The restoration and new digitization of Sodom was completed by Anthology Film Archives. Special thanks to John Klacsmann, John Mhiripiri, and Ed Halter. 

Streaming Details

This film is available to stream globally.

Program Partners

This film is co-presented with Anthology Film Archives.

Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy © Estate of Luther Price and Anthology Film Archives. Special thanks to John Klacsmann, John Mhiripiri, and Ed Halter.

about the artist

Luther Price (USA) was a visual artist, performer, and filmmaker born in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 1962. The artist cycled through various pseudonyms throughout his life, including Brigk Aethy, Laija Brie Aethy, and Tom Rhoads. Distancing himself from his birth name may have been one strategy that enabled the production of such enormously profound and revelatory works rooted in the traumatic childhood events of his personal family history. He received a BFA in Sculpture and Media/Performing Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (1987), studying under esteemed friend and colleague American filmmaker Saul Levine. In 1985, he suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound during a study-abroad program in Nicaragua that radically altered the course of his life and career. Physically incapable of creating the large sculptural installations characteristic of his practice, he transitioned to working with small-gauge film upon his return to the United States. Price was highly prolific. In addition to his early Super 8 experiments, he completed 100+ 16mm found footage films in merely a decade, at the turn of the 21st century, most of which have yet to be publicly exhibited. The full scope and impact of his output remains to be properly recognized. His films, performances, and visual artworks were exhibited widely at festivals, museums, and galleries internationally during his lifetime, including CBGB, the Carpenter Center for Visual Art at Harvard University, New York Underground Film Festival, Kunstverein Hamburg, Walker Art Center, Anthology Film Archive, Wexner Center for the Arts, Hammer Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Participant Inc., New York Film Festival, (S8) Mostra de Cinema Periférico, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, including the 2012 Whitney Biennial curated by Ed Halter and Thomas Beard. Price is represented by Callicoon Fine Arts in New York. His work is in public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, MIT, and others. The artist lived with his cat Mr. Grey in Revere, Massachusetts until his untimely death in 2020. He is greatly missed.