Kurt Kren (Austria) was a vital figure in post-war avant-garde cinema, born in Vienna in 1925 to a Jewish father and a German mother. In 1939 he was sent by Children’s Transport to live in Rotterdam until the end of World War II. Kren returned to Vienna in 1947, where he worked at the National Bank. He began his film career in the early 1950s, creating short works on Super 8 film. He was also known to make paper film scores and drawings, and was a member of the Vienna Art Club along with contemporary artists and writers such as Ernst Jandl, Ilse Aichinger, and H.C Artmann. In 1966 he participated in the Destruction in Art symposium in London, England led by Gustav Metzger, along with participants including Yoko Ono, Henri Chopin, and others. In 1968 his films were confiscated and he was fired from the National Bank for his participation in the Kunst und Revolution happening at the University of Vienna. Kren was co-founder of Vienna Institute of Direct Art (1966) and Austrian Filmmakers Cooperative (1968). He created more than 50 films between 1956–1996, screening at festivals and museums worldwide including Cannes, the Museum of Modern Art, Documenta 6, and the National Film Theatre. He lived in Texas from 1983 to 1989 and worked as a security guard at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Kren’s films have screened at Media City Film Festival six times, including a retrospective (2006), and in a program focused on work by the founders of the Austrian Filmmakers Cooperative in 2013. He is the subject of the documentary No Danube – Kurt Kren and his Films (1988), directed by Hans Scheugl, along with numerous essays, articles and publications. Kren died of pneumonia in Vienna in 1998.
THREE FILMS BY KURT KREN
ONLINE SCREENING DATES: May 20 – June 10, 2021
FILMS IN THIS PROGRAM: 29/73 Ready-made, 13 min, 1973; 24/70 Western, 3 min, 1970; 44/85 Foot’-age shoot’-out, 3.5 min, 1985