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Fred Camper: Short Bio and Résumé

I am an artist, and a writer and lecturer on film, art, and photography, who lives in Chicago. I have written on cinema for most of my life, have taught at several colleges and universities, have been an art critic and arts journalist since 1989, and have been working on the art I am now showing, digital prints of multiple photographs, since 2002. By my mid-teens, I was interested in math, physics, poetry, classical music, and cinema, mostly American avant-garde film (Brakhage, Markopoulos, Rice) and classical Hollywood (Hitchcock, Hawks). By 17, I was trying to make my own films, and was writing my earliest film criticism. By my early 20s I had completed five 16mm films, and by 1984 had made a version of SN. By then my film ideas had grown impossibly ambitious in comparison to my resources, while I had already, for other reasons, been thinking about combining multiple still photographs in ways that would be somewhat cinematic, something I continued to think about for two decades. Then, in 2002, I started taking digital photos. I first began completing art works using them in 2005, and began exhibiting in September, 2007. This art work has become my principal focus, and now feels like the work I was meant to do for my whole life. There's a longer autobiography on my site. My studio is in the East Bank Storage Building.

Fred Camper    P. O. Box A3866    Chicago IL 60690-3866    USA
Phone 773 254-4533    email    Web site

Art Work


"Figments," Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, September 10 through October 9, 2009.
Exhibit at Caro d'Offay Gallery, Chicago, June 14, 2008, through August 2.
"Trips," at Beyond Baroque, Venice California, October 19, 2007, through December 15, 2007.

Artists of Eastbank Spring Show, Aril 19 through May 10, 2013.
Artwork 6, January 19 through February 1, 2013, Sullivan Galleries of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 33 S. State Street, Chicago, Seventh Floor, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM. I showed this piece.
Critical Encounters, Image & Implication, Faculty Exhibition, at Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan, 8th Floor, March 3 through August 1, 2011; I showed this piece.
Répertoire,, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, February 18, through May 5.
David Leonardis Gallery, Chicago, showed works from Quarry 1: Times Square from December 4, 2009, through May 29, 2010.
Humanities Residential Art Show, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, California, August 13 through August 29, 2009. This show included the complete Details 1: Largo Argentina, Rome.
Group show, Born of the Moment and Method: Photography, Scans & Video, at Walter Randel Gallery, New York, New York, December 12, 2008 through February 7, 2009.
Group show, "FOTOWERK 2007," FLATFILEgalleries, Chicago, September 7-October 26, 2007.

Print articles are below. The link above leads to a page that includes Web and audio coverage.
Review of my exhibit at Caro d'Offay Gallery, by Michael Weinstein, from Newcity, July 3, 2008.
Critic's Choice on my current show by Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader, June 12, 2008.
A review by Victor Cassidy from Focus, April 2008.
An interview with me by John Neff, BAT 5, 2007.

Deloitte, Chicago
Tandemodus, Chicago
Jake Barningham, Chicago
Kian S. and Ursula Bergstrom, Chicago
Amy Bodman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Marilyn Brakhage, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Rosa Ileana Boudet and Felipe Herba, Santa Monica, California
Steven Conrad, Chicago.
David Coons, ArtScans Studio, Culver City, California.
Robert Edelstein and Janet Hutter, New York
Terry Evans, Chicago
Daniel Eyny, New York
Ernie Gehr and Myrel Glick, Brooklyn, New York
Lois Greenfield and Stuart Liebman, New York
Joe and Carol Hall, Chicago
Brian Robert Hischier, Chicago
Tim Hunter, Los Angeles
JB Mabe, Chicago
Sarah Markgraf and Gregg Biermann, Hackensack, New Jersey
William Thurmond, Chicago
Richard Modiano and Gail Takamine, Mar Vista, California
Herbert R. and Paula Molner, Chicago
John J. Murphy, New York
Harvey Nosowitz and D'Anne Bodman, Carlisle, Massachusetts
Matt Smith, Chicago
Shirley Soman, New York
Michael Strasser and Patricia Zedalis, New York
David Sterritt and Mikita Brottman, Baltimore, Maryland
Jeremy Sterritt and Tanya Van Sant | ArtBase, New York, New York
Christopher and Deborah Taw, Chicago
Scott Trotter, Chicago
Amy Vogel and Yaniv Eyny, New York
Carolyn Faber, Chicago
Private collections, Chicago
Private collection, Duluth, Minnesota

Writing, Lecturing, Teaching
My writing on and interest in experimental/avant-garde film and classical narrative cinema goes back to the 1960s; I've been writing on film for the Chicago Reader since 1986, and have written for many scholarly film periodicals. I've lectured on avant-garde film extensively in North America, and throughout the world. I've also written extensively on narrative film, and on other types of cinema. In 2005 I organized two national tours for the filmmaker Peter Kubelka, which included dates at the University of Chicago. Most of my art writing is on contemporary art, but I'm deeply engaged by art and architecture of all periods, and have written a little on architecture as well. In 1965 I cofounded, and then ran, the MIT Film Society.

I've written on art for the Chicago Reader from 1989 until early 2007, almost weekly from 1993-2007 and still occasionally at present, have written on art for the Chicago Tribune, have published on art in ArtNews, American Craft, American Ceramics, and the New Art Examiner, and have written over a dozen catalogue essays.

I began publishing on film in 1967, and my film writing has appeared in a wide variety of books, catalogues, and periodicals - both academic and general interest. Filmmakers I've published on include Stan Brakhage, Ernie Gehr, Robert Breer, Ron Rice, Hollis Frampton, George Landow, Su Friedrich, Louis Klahr, Janie Geiser, Roberto Rossellini, Josef von Sternberg, Douglas Sirk, Kenji Mizoguchi, Frank Borzage, Claude Lanzmann, and many others. I've written on sound and film and on the differences between cinema and video. Periodicals I've published in include Film Culture, Artforum, Screen (UK), The Journal of the University Film and Video Association, The New Art Examiner, Spiral, Motion Picture, Cinema (UK), The Center Quarterly, the Chicago Reader, the Soho Weekly News, Boston After Dark. I've also written essays for books, exhibition catalogues, monographs. A number of my articles have been reprinted in books, anthologies of critical writing, and catalogues, and my work has been discussed in books on film and film criticism. My writing on film has been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Lithuanian, Chinese, and Japanese. From 1976-7, and again since 1986, I have written film reviews for the Chicago Reader, and have also written over 1,000 capsule (100-250 word) movie reviews for the Reader.

1972-75: Teaching assistant, and then Instructor, Department of Cinema Studies, New York University. Taught Contemporary Cinema and a course of my own design, Four American Directors: von Sternberg, Hawks, Borzage, and Sirk.
1974: Instructor, Richmond College (now College of Staten Island). Co-taught a course in Italian cinema.
1975: Instructor, the William Paterson College of New Jersey. Taught film history.
1976-7: Instructor, Filmmaking Department, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
1977-82: Assistant Professor and (1977-81) Chairperson, Filmmaking Department, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Taught filmmaking, film history, film aesthetics, graduate seminars, and advised graduate and undergraduate students on their work. Member, Faculty Senate; Chairperson, School Budget Committee.
1997: Visiting Instructor, Photography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Taught a single reading course in art issues.
2000: Visiting Instructor, Film History, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Taught a course of my own design, American Film Melodrama.
2007: Senior Lecturer, Film Department, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, teaching a graduate seminar.
2010-present: Adjunct Instructor, Columbia College, Chicago, teaching an introductory film course, "Moving Image Art."
2012-present: Adjunct, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In Fall 2012 I taught American Cinema of the 1950s.


I've given lectures on avant-garde film around the world, in Turin, Naples, Madrid, Hong Kong, Brazil, Poland (four different cities), Croatia (Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik), and at various public events, conferences, and colleges and universities in New York City (New York University, American Museum of the Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives); Toronto (opening speaker and participant, International Experimental Film Congress, 1989 ); San Francisco (San Francisco Cinémathèque, the San Francisco Art Institute); Berkeley (The Pacific Film Archive at the University of California), Los Angeles (the LA Filmforum); Toledo, Ohio (the University Film and Video Association, 2004); Woodstock, New York; Norman, Oklahoma; Boston; Cambridge, Mass; Andover, Mass. I've also spoken on other kinds of cinema, including 1997 lectures on Douglas Sirk at the Cinémathèque Ontario and at Dartmouth College (speaker and participant at conference on the films of Douglas Sirk, 1997). I've introduced a number of programs of both avant-garde and classical Hollywood cinema at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

In 2005, I was a juror in the 25 FPS International Film Festival, Zagreb, and presented programs of recent films and videos that I curated at that festival and in Split and Dubrovnik.

I curated and spoke on two programs of avant-garde films presented in Naples, Italy, in 2002, and a four program series of Brakhage films in Brazil in 2003, as well as a number of other programs of avant-garde films. I curated and spoke on four programs of Brakhage films in Warsaw, 2003, and spoke on four Brakhage programs at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in April 2004.

In 1980, curated a circulating three-program film series, By Brakhage, for the American Federation of Arts, and wrote accompanying booklet.

I curated and wrote the catalogue entries for the collection of experimental films distributed by Audio-Brandon, 1977.

Anthology Film Archives' "Film Preservation Honor," 2001. This award has only gone to a small handful of writers in the over a decade that it had been offered up to 2001.

Lisagor award, 1999, given to Chicago journalists; mine was for the most outstanding article in arts journalism, Men on the Street, on two Chicago street photographers.

In 2002-2003, I was a consultant on the two-disc DVD set, by Brakhage, issued by Criterion, selected to be "his eyes" (as Criterion put it) in supervising the transfers); I also wrote the liner notes and a short biography.

I maintain many Web resources on avant-garde film-makers, the largest being on the work of Stan Brakhage, which includes a Brakhage filmography and images of strips from his films.

Organized a series of seven lecture-screenings, delivering three of them myself, which constituted an introduction to film history, at the Arts Club of Chicago, 1998-1999.

From 1995-1998 delivered regular short radio commentaries on WBEZ on current art and photography exhibits in Chicago.

I am a founding member of, and active participant in, the Chicago Art Critics Association, 1998-present.

In 1995 and again in 1999, appeared on Chicago Tonight, a Chicago television program on WTTW discussing current art exhibits.

In 1994, panel member, discussion at N.A.M.E. Gallery, Chicago, on the influence of Robert Smithson on recent artists.

In 1987, one of two jurors, Onion City Film Festival, Chicago.

1965-71: Co-founded, and either programmed or co-programmed, and wrote numerous program notes for, The M.I.T. Film Society.

S.B., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971.
Student in the Ph. D. program in Cinema Studies, New York University, 1971-76, completed most coursework toward Ph. D.; M.A. Degree in Cinema Studies, 1974.

Joan Goes to Misery (1967, 8 minutes, 16mm, sound).
A Sense of the Past (1967, 4 minutes, 16mm, silent).
Dan Potter (1968, 39 minutes, 16mm, silent).
Welcome to Come (1968, 3 minutes, 16mm, sound).
Bathroom (1969, 25 minutes, 16mm, silent).
Ghost (1976, 1 minute, super-8, silent).
SN (1984, c. 110 minutes, super-8, silent).

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