Scarlet Street – 325 Broome Street
Genesis Belanger, Julie Bena, Nick Doyle, Adam Henry,
Katherine March, Ander Mikalson, Ryan Mrozowski, Anne Neukamp,
B. Ingrid Olson, Renaud Regnery, Emily Mae Smith
Organized by Walter Wanger and Dan Duryea
This exhibition brings together a community of participants from three countries who have made new works
based on Scarlet Street, one of the most peculiar examples of American film noir cinema. Directed by the great
German émigré filmmaker Fritz Lang in 1945 and adapted from French sources, it was initially censored but
later became celebrated as a subversive classic and for being the first Hollywood melodrama to end in an immoral
The film tells the story of Christopher Cross (played by Edward G. Robinson), a middle-age cashier and amateur
painter who allows himself to be misled by a beautiful young seductress (Joan Bennett) after the femme fatale and
her abusive boyfriend mistake the love-struck fool for a renowned artist. When they realize their error, they
begin to successfully sell Cross’s paintings under her name. The dupe is thrilled by the attention from critics and
from the young woman until he discovers that his admirer is a mere gold-digger.
The plot inevitably ends in heartbreak for the deceived protagonist, who kills the woman in a fit of despair and
eventually goes insane. Although he is absolved of the murder, the film concludes with him wandering darkened
streets, confronted by his own (self-) portrait of the woman in the window of the city’s most prestigious gallery.
He remains haunted by his now completely unattainable successes in both art and love.
Scarlet Street – both the film and this exhibition – exemplify the gloomy yet glamorous atmosphere, mysterious
narrative patterns, and unsettling visual effects that characterize film noir and gothic melodramas of the 1940s.
The new works made for this show specifically address the themes of Scarlet Street, such as the instability of
authorship, a complicated view of feminism, uncertainty about (self-) portrayal, and a dark humor exemplified in
its unparalleled witty badinage. Accordingly, the exhibition creates a state of tension and a feeling of ambiguity to
echo the fascinating junction of French, German, and American culture that is Scarlet Street.
September 8th – October 30th, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 8th, 6-8pm
Lucien Terras, 325 Broome Street, #1W – Between Bowery and Chrystie