Conserving Anthony McCall’s solid light films

Jeff Martin


In 2013, the New Art Trust undertook a major initiative to acquire and conserve, as a unified archive, the seminal 1970s 16mm “solid light” film installations of Anthony McCall, including Partial Cone, Conical Solid, Cone of Variable Volume, Long Film for Four Projectors, and Four Projected Movements. In addition to creating new film master materials for all works, a process which was carried out by Bill Brand of BB Optics, we also worked closely with McCall to document each film’s history, both technically and conceptually. Moreover, through a series of formal interviews and informal conversations, we explored in depth with McCall the implications of his creating digital “remakes” of these films—e,g., his Line Describing a Cone 2.0 (2010)—as well as the films’ exhibition future at a time when 16mm processing and projection are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive. The paper will detail not only the technical aspects of the work, but also the ways in which the New Art Trust’s collaboration with McCall proved to be essential to this project, and how this experience will help shape the Trust’s future conservation endeavors.

2015 | Miami | Volume 22