Q&A with SQUARING THE CIRCLE
(THE STORY OF HIPGNOSIS)
Filmmaker Anton Corbijn and Subject Aubrey “Po” Powell
Wednesday, June 7
Moderated by artist Eric Johnson
NOTE: This screening is SOLD OUT.
A standby line will form at the box office 30 minutes prior to showtime.
A polymath in photography, music videos, feature films, graphic design and commercials, Dutchman Anton Corbijn is perhaps best known for immortalizing some of the greatest artists of our time. His iconic portraits of musicians, directors and artists like Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, U2, the Rolling Stones, Martin Scorsese, Naomi Campbell, Clint Eastwood, Gerhard Richter, Ai Weiwei, Marlene Dumas amongst others, are praised for the way they capture the soul and charisma of his subjects. Effortlessly moving in the early 80s from photography into music videos Corbijn has since made approximately 80 promos for people like U2, Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, Metallica, Nick Cave, Coldplay and The Killers. He is the Creative Director behind the visual output of Depeche Mode for the last 35 years, and the visual man for U2 having handled the principal promotion and sleeve photography for four decades. In 2006 Anton Corbijn started working on his first feature film, CONTROL (a Film Forum premiere) about the life, and death, of Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s lead singer. The film won around 20 awards worldwide, including 5 BIFA’s & the Camera d’Or Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival 2007. Corbijn has since made THE AMERICAN, starring George Clooney (2010), A MOST WANTED MAN, based on the novel by John Le Carré featuring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (2014) and LIFE about James Dean and photographer Dennis Stock, which stars Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan (2015). SPIRITS IN THE FOREST, a concert film about Depeche Mode and their fans was released in 2019. During the 2020 lockdown Anton used his time to put together a monumental book on Depeche Mode, that saw the light in 2021. The book, published by Taschen, and called DM-AC, was a huge success. It was his 22nd published book, with two more books to follow this September.
Aubrey “Po” Powell co-founded the album cover design company Hipgnosis with Storm Thorgerson in 1967. The company ran successfully for 15 years until 1982. Hipgnosis created some of the most innovative and surreal record cover art of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s for many of the biggest rock bands of the era including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Yes, Genesis, 10cc, Peter Gabriel, Bad Company, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Scorpions, Styx, Syd Barrett, Black Sabbath, and Peter Frampton. For fifteen years Hipgnosis were the vanguard of rock iconography, creating over 400 album covers, and receiving five Grammy Award nominations. From still images Powell turned his hand to filmmaking, first as a producer/writer and then as a director shooting music videos, three features, and many TV commercials. More recently in 2011 he directed the documentary THE BULL RUNNERS OF PAMPLONA, which took two years to make and was shot in IMAX 3D. The film won the Best Documentary Film at the 2012 New Jersey Film Festival. That same year he directed Eric Idle, Russell Brand, Eddie Izzard, Billy Connolly, Tracey Ullman, and Jane Leeves in the movie of the Eric Idle play, WHAT ABOUT DICK? He was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2015 for directing the Monty Python film ONE DOWN, FIVE TO GO. Powell is currently the Creative Director for Pink Floyd and has just produced the largest and most successful exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London entitled “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains,” which ran for five months. The exhibition is now touring the world.
Eric Johnson is an award-winning photographer and artist originally from Newark, New Jersey, and now based in New York City. His gift for portraiture is one of the hallmarks of his art. Through his work, he embraces the soul of New York, bringing together individuals from all walks of life as a community. Johnson’s archive goes back more than 30 years, with work published in Rolling Stone, 032c, Vogue, Dazed & Confused, The Face, W, The New York Times, Interview & V Magazine, to name a few. He has photographed a dizzying array of luminaries from across the spectrum — from Muhammad Ali to Cindy Sherman, from Gus Van Sant to Lady Gaga, from Jim Jarmusch to Russell Westbrook. Johnson is best known for his work in the 1990’s and early 2000’s documenting music and culture, particularly the hip-hop and R&B scene, and much of his work has come to define that era — including Nas, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, and the late Notorious B.I.G. and Aaliyah, as well as Lauryn Hill for the cover art of her masterpiece “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”, among countless others. His work has always been representative of the current zeitgeist and his community around him, capturing names like f.k.a. Twigs, Ian Isiah, Eartheater, Juliana Huxtable, and Kelsey Lu at his renowned New York studio, Upstairs At Eric’s. And, his more recent work with the likes of Doja Cat, Glorilla, Yung Miami, Chloe & Halle, Pusha T, and Shygirl, places him at the heart of contemporary pop music culture today. Last year, Abbey Road Studios awarded Eric its inaugural ICON AWARD at its first Music Photography Awards for his unparalleled contributions to the field, and V Magazine proclaimed Eric an “unsung hero” when featuring him in the August 2022 edition of its HEROES series. Johnson’s story continues to bring together and capture some of the most distinct and individual creatives who exist on the edge of culture, and redefine it from the outside in.