Feb 25, 2012 – May 19, 2012
Made in collaboration with New York-based filmmaker Petter Ringbom, Questions for My Father is a document of the inquiries, doubts and reservations of a generation of men who came of age in the late 20th century. The work builds upon an eponymous series of drawings Haendel began in 2007 and, significantly, is the artist’s first film.
Arranged like a series of portraits on a black, studio backdrop, The subjects of the film face the camera and, with a direct, even delivery that belies the emotional topics, ask things they always wanted to know about their fathers but never voiced. Some of the men have already lost their fathers; others rarely, if ever, knew them; and for many, their questions were just too hard to ask. Almost all are a part of Haendel and Ringbom’s social and professional milieu, of similar age and educational background and presently working in creative fields in New York and Los Angeles. The shared circumstances contribute a sense of community to the group, much As those of their fathers, who came of age in the 1960s, yield common questions about an era of Nixon, Vietnam, protest and radicalism. The men – many young fathers themselves – also build broader themes, asking about paternal regrets, depression and sexual fantasies.
Questions for my Father raises its own inquiries, foremost how our values are formed in relation to our parents’ values, be they continuations or refutations. This is a film that explores how masculinity has changed over the years, and how some elements of politics, race, religion and culture have evolved while others remain close to those of a previous generation.
Karl Haendel received an MFA from UCLA in 2003. He has had solo exhibitions at Lever House, New York (2010) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2006). Haendel’s work has recently been exhibited at the Guggenheim, The New Museum, The Drawing Center, The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and in the 2008 California Biennial. His work will be featured in Prospect 2, New Orleans Biennial this Fall.