Maya Deren: Choreographed for Camera
Author/Editor: Mark Alice Durant
Mark Alice Durant’s new biography of the filmmaker [is] thrilling and terrifying. It’s the tale of an artist who, in the mid-nineteen-forties, in the span of four years, by the age of thirty, remade her artistic world—drastically and definitively. (Richard Brody, the New Yorker)
Drawing from a treasure trove of archival materials, Durant gives a vivid account of the swath Maya Deren cut through the modernist century. Durant’s gorgeous writing captures how, in Deren’s hands, cinema is a devotion to life itself. (Laura U. Marks)
Drama and myth frame the life and death of Maya Deren. Born in Kiev in 1917, at the start of the Russian Revolution, she died forty-four years later in New York City. In her brief life, she established herself as a pioneering experimental filmmaker, prolific writer, accomplished photographer and crusader for a personal and poetic cinema. With its dreamy circular narrative and enigmatic imagery, her first film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), has inspired generations of artists, filmmakers and poets. Deren worked and collaborated with numerous mid-century cultural luminaries, including Katherine Dunham, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Anais Nin, Gregory Bateson, Jonas Mekas and Joseph Campbell.
This is the first full biography of Deren. Based on years of research, interviews with some of Deren’s closest collaborators, and generously illustrated with film stills and photographs, author Mark Alice Durant creates a vivid and accessible narrative exploring the complexities and contradictions in the life and work of this remarkable and charismatic artist.
Published 2022 by Saint Lucy Books
Mark Alice Durant is an artist and writer living in Baltimore. His essays have appeared in numerous journals such as Art in America, Aperture, Dear Dave, Photograph magazine, Afterimage, and many catalogs, monographs and anthologies. He was co-curator and co-author of the traveling exhibition Some Assembly Required: Collage Culture in Post War America, curator of Celestial at the Camera Club of New York and Notes on Monumentality at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He has served on the faculties of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, UCLA, the University of New Mexico, Syracuse University, ICP, and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. He is a professor in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Maryland.
Saint Lucy Books publishes elegant, idiosyncratic, and accessible books that combine words and images to celebrate contemporary photographic artists, and to explore the marginal, hidden, and parallel histories of photography. Established in 2017, Saint Lucy Books extends the mission of the original online journal (www.saint-lucy.com) with (thus far) nine critically acclaimed titles.