The Museum of Modern Art is turning into a go-to spot for major New York City animation events. After hosting a sell-out lecture by Glen Keane earlier this month, MoMA will highlight an entirely different approach to animation by presenting a retrospective of works by filmmaker David OReilly.
“An Evening with David OReilly” will take place on May 11 as part of MoMA’s Modern Mondays series. It is the first time that the creations of the 29-year-old filmmaker have been shown at the museum.
The program, curated by MoMA’s Joshua Siegel, will include shorts like RGB XYZ (2007), Please Say Something (2009) and The External World (2010), as well as the New York theatrical premiere of OReilly’s latest film The Horse Raised by Spheres (2015).
There might be glimpses of his more commercially-oriented projects as well, like the “Alien Child” sequence of Spike Jonze’s Her, collaborations with musicians M.I.A. and U2, and his Adventure Time guest-directing gig, “A Glitch Is a Glitch.” OReilly will introduce the program.
From MoMA’s program description:
A mesmerizing storyteller with a gift for open-ended, absurdist narratives—“The story for Octocat came to me by reading the Bible word-for-word backwards,” he matter-of-factly observes—OReilly is resolutely independent, moving freely among television network, feature film, and music video commissions; metaphysical, otherworldly video games and interactive projects that question ideas of the self and the nature of role-playing (Mountain and Character Mirror); Tumblr games, iPhone hologram apps, and Twitter-based comic strips; and virtual reality environments.
Cute and creepy, sentimental and cruel, OReilly’s moving-image works are existential nightmares of childhood abandonment, romantic humiliation, totalitarian brainwashing, and entropy. His seemingly crude aesthetic—anti-naturalist, economical, and rule-based—exploits rather than hides the limitations and artifacts of low-polygon 3-D software and “primitive” digital drawing applications like MS Paint (“the same way [Francis] Bacon didn’t hide brush strokes”), and belies a sophisticated and dazzling use of flattened space, perspective, color, sound, and collage. OReilly also employs some of the most cutting-edge technologies available to contemporary filmmakers, including Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and various forms of proprietary software.