I Remember


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Modesty, whimsy, and clarity of design grace the work of Joe Brainard (1941-1994), an artist and writer whose evocations of memory and desire perhaps found their greatest expression in his memoir-poem I Remember. Composed of a sequence of brief recollections, the poem’s standardized format admits an incredible variety of images and feelings: "I remember Greyhound buses at night...I remember candy cigarettes like chalk...I remember leaning up against walls in queer bars...” Brainard's many drawings, collages, assemblages, and paintings, as well as his short essays and verbal-visual collaborations were celebrated during his lifetime before he stopped making art in the mid-1980s.

Filmmaker Matt Wolf returns to this iconic poem in his film I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard. His archival montage combines audio recordings of Brainard reading from the poem, as well as an interview with his lifelong friend and collaborator, the poet Ron Padgett. The result is an inventive biography of Joe Brainard, and an elliptical dialog about friendship, nostalgia, and the strange wonders of memory.

— 24 minutes, 2012

Matt Wolf is a filmmaker in New York. His critically acclaimed and award-winning films have played widely in festivals, theaters, museums, and on television. Matt’s first feature documentary Wild Combination is about the avant-garde cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell. His second feature Teenage is about the birth of youth culture, based on a book by the British punk author Jon Savage. Matt's recent HBO Documentary It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise premiered at Sundance and is airing on HBO.

Matt’s other shorts include I Remember about the artist and poet Joe Brainard and commissions from Time Magazine, the New York Times, NPR/Storycorps, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Matt is a Guggenheim Fellow.

A Film by Matt Wolf
Featuring Joe Brainard & Ron Padgett
Sound Design & Editing by Mark Phillips

Commissioned by Nathan Lee
Produced by Ken Kuchin

Research: Michael Dolan
Sound Recording: Micah Bloomberg
Additional Editing: Nicole Turney

Archival Footage & Audio Courtesy:
Ron Padgett
Penn Sound
National Archives
Bill Berkson

Funding Provided by:
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College
Foundation for Contemporary Arts

Thank You:
Ron Padgett
Tom Eccles
Johanna Burton
Ken Kuchin
Marcia Acita
Ann Butler
Ann Lauterbach
Colter Jacobsen
Carl Williamson

More films by Director Matt Wolf


Teenage is about the birth of youth culture. Based on a book by the punk author Jon Savage, the film features original music by Bradford Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound).

Wild Combination

Wild Combination is a visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell.


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