Roots & Elements of Modern Art

July 30th - August 27th, 2011

This film series is presented in honor of Adi Da Samraj's upcoming solo exhibition at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Beverly Hills, from September 8th - October 8th, 2011. These film selections give an overview of art history and introduce some of the techniques and subjects used in Avatar Adi Da's image art. We conclude with a rare documentary about modernist painter Piet Mondrian, whose impulse to the spiritual dimensions of abstraction and non-representation in art is, in some sense, continued by Avatar Adi Da's Orpheus and Linead One suites, which are featured in this exhibition.

How Art Made the World: Part 1
Saturday, July 30th, 2pm

The documentary series How Art Made the World is a landmark. Host Dr. Nigel Spivey, a Classical Archaeology professor from Cambridge, asserts that not only have cultures thrived according to their abilities to communicate visually, but also that, though art, we can historically trace human needs and desires because our minds drive us to create images. (60 minutes)

Episode Two - The Day Pictures Were Born: 
The discovery of prehistoric cave paintings in the last century led to the shocking realisation that humans have been creating art for over 30,000 years. Episode two reveals how the very first pictures ever made were created, and how images may have triggered the greatest change in human history.

How Art Made the World: Part 2
Saturday, August 6th, 2pm

Questioning how and why art influences society, Dr. Nigel Spivey employs art criticism, archaeology, political theory, and anthropology in order to posit theories in each hour-long segment. Potent, smart, and interdisciplinary, this series, filmed mostly on-location for full-effect, really does prove that culture dictates art. (60 minutes)

Episode Four - Once Upon a Time
: Over seven billion people across the world are drawn to see the latest feature films in the cinema. This episode reveals how the most powerful storytelling medium ever created exploits visual techniques invented by artists in the ancient world.

Calligraphy & Photography
Saturday, August 13th, 2pm

A Look at the History of Calligraphy; the Art of the Written Word: This documentary gives a brief overview of the history and development of calligraphy. The various influences are presented, from landmark achievements such as the Book of Kells to the artistic revival of Edward Johnston. However, the objective is not only to look at history; with the help of three experienced calligraphers, look at the current and future potential of this unique art form. (24 minutes)

George Eastman House: Picture Perfect: 
Located on the estate of the man who made Kodak a household word, the George Eastman House celebrates the art, technology, and impact of photography and motion pictures. This program goes behind the scenes with curators and archivists at Eastman’s colonial revival mansion in Rochester, New York—now the oldest photography museum in the world—to showcase its famous collections. The Eastman House is a vital stop on the journey to understanding visual literacy. (28 minutes)

The Nude in Art
Saturday, August 20th, 2pm

If there is one genre of art that seems to have played a greater role than any other, it is the nude. For at least 30,000 years, humans have represented the naked form in a variety of ways. From the ideal to the real, the Romantic to the Surrealist, there has been almost no end of works devoted to the unclothed human body. This series will examine those artworks, the societies that produced them, and the artists that made them. (50 minutes)

Piet Mondrian (Mr. Boogie-Woogie Man)
Saturday, August 27th, 2pm

An in-depth look at influential 20th-century Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and his works, from early rural landscapes to his masterpiece, "Broadway Boogie-Woogie," rendered in his signature style, Neo-Plasticism. Includes commentary from "Time" art critic Robert Hughes, composer Louis Andriessen, and designer Terence Conran on Mondrian's influence both within and outside the art world. This rare and stirring portrait of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian explores how jazz music inspired his art, and how his style exerted international influence on painting, architecture, interior decor, furniture, design, and typography. (49 minutes)

Realizers of the Great Tradition

The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha

Saturday, January 22nd, 4pm
He remains one of the most legendary and influential of all religious progenitors, but what of his actual life? In this biographical documentary, Emmy Award-winning director David Grubin tells the historical tale of Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC), from his initial enlightenment under a fig tree through his death around the age of 80. In the process, Grubin makes an unusual point: that Gautama never once claimed to be God or God's emissary, but instead sought to find a way to bring peace and alleviation from suffering to others in a cruel and often insane world. In telling this story, Grubin combines a number of elements including original animations, testimony by contemporary Buddhists such as the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, glimpses of sculptures and paintings that help tell Gautama's story. (120 minutes)

Jesus to Christ: The First Christians
Saturday, January 29th, 3pm
"From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" tells the epic story of the rise of Christianity. Drawing upon historical evidence, the series challenges familiar assumptions and conventional notions about Christian origins. Part One examines how Judaism and the Roman Empire shaped Jesus' life. Jesus (ca. 5 BC - ca. 30 AD) was an ordinary Jewish resident of his time, but new archaeological findings show that Jesus was probably not of the humble class. Jesus was born, lived, and died a Jew, and he was influenced by the diversity and tensions of Judaism at that time. Through engaging on-camera interviews with twelve scholars--New Testament theologians, archaeologists, and historians--a range of viewpoints and diversity of faiths are represented. They discuss the value in a historical approach to Jesus and the Bible and whether Christian faith can be reconciled with such an approach. (Part One, 154 minutes)

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
Saturday, February 5th, 4pm
His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was only six. But sheltered by a powerful uncle, he made a good start in life, established himself in a profitable business and married well. And then, at the age of 40, he was transformed. A man who could not read or write, he announced that he was the prophet of God. His name was Muhammad (ca. 570/571-632), and in the next 23 years he would bring peace to the warring pagan tribes of Arabia and establish the new religion of Islam. Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet tells the story of a seventh century prophet who changed world history in 23 years, and continues to shape the lives of more than 1.2 billion people. (153 minutes)

Ramakrishna: A Documentary
Saturday, February 12th, 4pm
A visual compilation of many priceless moments in one of the religious history’s important lives, Ramakrishna (1836-1886), a famous sage of 19th-century India. Mahatma Gandhi said of Ramakrishna: "The story of Ramakrishna’s life is a story of religion in practice. His life enables us to see God face to face." This documentary also includes a solid record of Ramakrishna’s systematic absorption into the practice of different religions to discover their intrinsic value, leading him to affirm the Vedic statement: "As many faiths, so many paths. Truth is one. Sages call it by many names." (79 minutes)

Vivekananda: As We Saw Him
Saturday, February 19th, 4pm
The life of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) is told through rare photographs, a well-prepared narrative, and personal reminiscences of Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a world religion during the end of the 19th century. This documentary covers his formative years with Ramakrishna, his major role at the 1893 Parliament of Religions and the subsequent establishment of Vedanta centers across the United States. (87 minutes)

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
Saturday, February 26th, 3pm
St. Thérèse (1873-1897), a French Carmelite nun, lived a hidden life and "wanted to be unknown," yet became popular after her death through her spiritual autobiography - she left also letters, poems, religious plays, prayers, and her last conversations were recorded by her sisters. Paintings and photographs – mostly the work of her sister Céline – further led to her being recognized by millions. This documentary welcomes viewers into her life with visits to her homes, examination of her writings, photographs, and long visits inside the Carmel of Lisieux. (90 minutes)

Ramana Maharshi: The Sage of Arunachala
Saturday, March 5th, 4pm
Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) was a silent Teacher, if there was one. It would be more appropriate to call him the Silent One, for teaching denotes duality, the teacher and taught, while Ramana was, as a devotee wrote, “the Pure Non-dual Essence.” His most direct and profound teaching was transmitted in silence. The unique life and teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, are artistically unfolded in a chronology of photographs, interviews, narration and archival film footage. Follow the Sage from his birth in a small village to his final mortal day, as grieving crowds push in from all sides to have their last darshan (sacred sighting) in this rare documentary. (73 minutes)

Thief of Hearts: A Documentary of Meher Baba
Saturday, March 12th, 4pm
Meher Baba (1894-1969) was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age. He spent years in spiritual training with one of his masters, Upasani Maharaj, before beginning his public work. The name Meher Baba means "Compassionate Father" and was given to him by his first followers. From July 10, 1925 to the end of his life, Meher Baba maintained silence, and communicated by means of an alphabet board or by unique hand gestures. This documentary chronicles the life and times of Avatar Meher Baba. (90 minutes)

Spirit of Tibet, Journey to Enlightenment: Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Saturday, March 19th, 4pm
The Spirit of Tibet offers an intimate glimpse into the life and world of one of Tibet's most revered 20th century teachers: Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991). A writer, poet and meditation master, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was an inspiration to all who encountered him. His many students throughout the world included the Dalai Lama. This unique portrait tells Khyentse Rinpoche's story from birth to death... to rebirth--from his escape following China's invasion of Tibet to his determination to preserve and transmit Buddhist teachings far and wide. His life leads us on a journey revealing the wonders of Tibet's art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance. Along with rarely photographed areas of Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, this film features interviews with the Dalai Lama, who speaks candidly about his own spiritual life. (45 minutes)