John and Faith Hubley

If there’s one CAN’T MISS animation program in New York this summer, it’s the screening coming up this Monday, June 2, at MoMA: “A Marriage Made in Heaven: Animated Jazz Shorts from The Hubley Studio.”

The screening has two of my favorite shorts directed by John Hubley and made in collaboration with his wife Faith: The Adventures of * (1957) and Tender Game (1958). Even better, these are both newly restored prints. Every print of Tender Game I’ve ever seen has been faded and muddy. The opportunity to see restored versions of these classic films on the bigscreen is truly something to be excited about and I can’t wait to check them out. The program is 100 minutes long so expect plenty of other shorts on the program as well. It’ll be introduced by the daughter of the Hubleys, filmmaker Emily Hubley, along with jazz scholar and author Ed Berger.

As a bonus, in the theater lobby at MoMA there’s currently a mini-exhibit of John Hubley’s artwork from Adventures of *. (Michael Sporn offers extensive photos from the exhibit posted on his blog). I’ve already had a peek at the exhibit which includes some of the most exquisite and visually striking pieces of art I’ve ever seen created for an animated film. What makes John Hubley among my favorite animation artists of all time is not simply that he created such amazing artwork, but that he figured out how to make it work in the context of movement. There is no shortage of pretty artwork in animation nowadays, but too often the artwork betrays the fundamental purpose of the art form–movement–and is created with slight consideration to its role within the continuity of a film. Hubley, on the other hand, created pieces of art that, while beautiful when viewed individually, are even more thrilling to view as a collective whole working in the service of his films. There’ll be no better opportunity to experience what I’m talking about than at MoMA this coming Monday.