M.M. Serra

Jack Smith's apartment (1990)
August 10, 2010 (2019)

MM Serra is an experimental filmmaker, curator, author, educator and the Executive Director of Film-Makers Cooperative, the oldest and largest archive of independent media in the world. Her first five films (NYC, 1985, Nightfall, 1984, Framed, 1984, PPI, 1986, Turner, 1987) were preserved and digitized by Anthology Film Archives Preservation series Re-Visions: American Experimental Film 1975-1990. The series “spotlights…the generation of experimental film artists who emerged after the final formation in 1975 of AFA’s Essential Cinema repertory screening cycle.” Anthology describes Serra’s five films as a “DIY Lower East Side spirit, but introduces a distinctive lyrical eroticism.” In 2015, Serra was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts for Enduring Ornament and in 2016 Serra received a New York Council on the Arts for a new film titled Mary Magdalene that was exhibited at the NY Media Center in August 2017. In 2018 MM Serra gave the 9th Annual Experimental Lecture at NYU Cinema Studies, entitled Art(Core): The Films of MM Serra, and in 2019 her lecture was published by Frameworks Journal.

Serra presented a lecture and screening at the Louvre auditorium in Paris, France on December 1st, 2019. It was held as the Petit Galerie in the Louvre as part of their cycling exhibitions highlighting Renaissance artists such as DaVinci and Michelangelo. The exposition, “Figure d’artiste,” focused on the cinematographic self portrait found in documentary, experimental, and avant-garde film. Serra’s emphasis in the lecture,Visionaries: Self-portraits by experimental filmmakers Marie Menken, Storm de Hirsch, Carolee Schneemann and MM Serra, was on women, literature, and self-portraits in the avant-garde pantheon. Filmmakers and speakers included Raymond Bellour, Pip Chodorov, Ross McElwee, Boris Lehman, and Agnes Varda.

"M.M. Serra's writings on her practice are among the key theory writings I would recommend to any emerging scholar. She contextualizes her films within the concept of Art(Core) and links them to the history of the New York Avant-garde moment. She has developed this concept over multiple decades and still writing/presenting on it, Serra's research is an essential example of practice that is a lived in." - Devon Narine-Singh