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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Art > How To Draw A Bunny (Documentary)

How To Draw A Bunny (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Documentary: B-



Ray Johnson was a more significant artist of the 20th Century than even I thought, but the recent John Walter/Andrew Moore documentary How To Draw A Bunny (2000) shows just how far he went to produce his art.  Often, this was in the form of puzzles that were not as simple as they first seemed.  Then there were his signature “bunny” sketches, which with little difference was used to portray just about everyone he knew or knew of.


Though this would indicate he saw us all as more similar than different, not to consider the wily nature of bunnies, he was a part of the art community at large and the many artists interviewed (Roy Lichtenstein, Billy Name, Chuck Close, James Rosenquist, Norman Solomon, Richard Feigen, et al) offers further consideration of where he was coming from and what may have happened to him when he died under odd circumstances on January 13th 1995, which happened to be a Friday.


Some of the program felt like things we have seen and heard in several previous such documentaries, but does it well enough just the same for those who have not seen such programs before.  I got just enough out of it to recommend, but some of it just did not work and some of the people and their ideas were on the pointless side that distracted from learning more about Johnson.  It is still referential enough curious enough about the artist who is the subject.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 image originated on NTSC video of the time and has dated slightly, but the mix of black and white with color images is often as abstract as Johnson’s usually colorful work.  The reenactments of certain events are the weak point.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some Pro Logic surrounds and is not bad for its recent age, but the tape source shows a few fidelity limits.  Extras include a slightly talky commentary by the directors, a Ray Johnson Memorial Show that takes about 5 minutes to tour a building featuring his work while no one is visiting, seven deleted scenes of more interviews that includes some who did not appear in the main feature including more key artists that runs another 20 minutes, trailers for this and other Palm DVD releases, and a few dozen stills of his art with identifying captions.  That is a plus supporting a main program that needed it.  That makes the DVD of How To Draw A Bunny the best way to catch it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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