Vivien Bittencourt grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, where she received a degree in history from the University of São Paulo. She moved to New York City in 1986, in order to pursue her interest in filmmaking. She has produced and directed documentary films on artists, including Rudy Burckhardt, Alex Katz, and Kiki Smith. She also captured several historic poetry readings on film, including a 1988 reading of Jack Kerouac’sMexico City Blues, with Eileen Myles, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bernstein, Nina Zivancevic, and Richard Hell, and a reading of Hanuman Books authors in 1989 featuring Herbert Huncke, Taylor Mead, Elaine Equi, Cookie Mueller, Gregory Corso, and Rene Ricard.
Along with filmmaking, Bittencourt has also photographed extensively. She has made portraits of poets, musicians, and artists. She has photographed ruins, in which she is interested in graphing the effects of time on man-made structures. She has photographed trees in Rome, Puglia, Lebanon and elsewhere. She considers these photographs to be portraits of living, changing, beings. Her photographs are notable for a certain placidity, an almost classical quality. Humans rarely appear in her landscape work, though their presence is inescapable.
In 2015, she was awarded a residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida, where she did her most recent series of photographs, Captiva, which shows birds and other animals in protected habitats and natural settings.
Selected Photography Publications:
Alex Katz, Art and Living, cover, May 2007
Five photographs, including cover, for The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius translated by Vincent Katz (Princeton University Press, 2004)
Alex Katz for Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), 2000
Rudy Burckhardt for Artforum,1999
Brice Marden for On Paper, January, 1998
Alix Lambert for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), October, 1997
Pierre Apraxine for On Paper, January, 1997
Francesco Clemente for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), December, 1996
Louise Bourgeois (cover) for On Paper, September, 1996
Tricia Collins, Brent Sikkema, and Lauren Wittels for Hanatsubaki (Japan), February, 1996
Allen Ginsberg for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), December, 1995
Tabboo! for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), December, 1995
Tabboo! for aRUDE Magazine, August-September, 1995
Crosstown Ensemble for Hanatsubaki (Japan), July, 1995
Louise Bourgeois for Print Collector Newsletter, July-August, 1995
Louise Bourgeois for Folha de São Paulo (Brazil), January, 1995
Stephen Antonakos project for Print Collector Newsletter, October- November,1994
Hal Willner for Creem, July, 1993
Gilberto Gil for Creem, March, 1993
Allen Ginsberg for Print Collector Newsletter, July-August, 1992
Graham Nash for Print Collector Newsletter, March-April, 1992
Eileen Myles for Paper Magazine, February, 1992
S'Express for Paper Magazine, November,1991
Caetano Veloso for Paper Magazine, October, 1991
Alex Katz for The New Censorship, September, 1991
Christian Marclay for Print Collector Newsletter, March-April, 1991
Derek Jarman for Paper Magazine, February, 1991
Allen Ginsberg for Cover Magazine, November, 1990
James Turrell exhibit at Museum of Modern Art, New York, for Print Collector Newsletter,
September-October, 1990Laurie Anderson for Cover Magazine, including cover shot, March, 1990
John Cage for Print Collector Newsletter, January-February, 1990
Michael Gira of Swans for Cover Magazine, October, 1989
Solo Photography Exhibitions:
Vivien Bittencourt: “Captiva”, Ille Arts, Amagansett, New York, July 2016
Vivien Bittencourt: “In the Arms of Time”, Ille Arts, Amagansett, New York, July 2012
Villa Doria Pamphili: Photographs by Vivien Bittencourt, Bruno Marina Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, 2004
Selected Photography Group
Exhibitions:”Come Together: Surviving Sandy” Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York, October 2013
”Figure and Ground” Ille Arts, Amagansett, New York, September 2013
”Family Show” Ille Arts, Amagansett, New York, March 2012
“Photography Plus” Blue Star Art Center, San Antonio, TX, September,
“Moving Ahead” Bruno Marina Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, 2006
“Vivien Bittencourt and Rudy Burckhardt: Paesaggi Ritratti e Video” Galeria Bonomo Rome, 2004
“High Five” Sala Murat, Bari, 2002
“Remembering Rudy” Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, 2000
“After V’s Dinner party” Francoise Heitsch Galerie, Munich, 1998
Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine
Selected Video Productions - Director and/or producer of the following projects:
CON EL MISMO AMOR (2007, 20 minutes)
Co-directed by Jan Henle, this film is a presentation and re-imagining of an artist’s land sculpture in rural Puerto Rico.
The Third San Juan/polygraphic Trienial, Puerto Rico, April 2012
Montalvo Arts Center, screening and presentation with art critic Bill Berkson, California, May 2009
Gwang Ju Biennale, Korea, September, 2008
Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel, “Panoramic Landscape”, June to November, 2008
Sikkema Jenkins Gallery in New York as part of Jan Henle’s solo exhibition there in September 2007
KIKI SMITH: SQUATING THE PALACE (2006, 45 minutes)
Documents the artist’s work processes and preparations for a large-scale installation at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, including the installation process and
Two week run at Film Forum, New York, January, 2007
Featured in the following film festivals:
24th Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, March, 2007
2007 Milano Doc Festival, September, 2007
12 th Festival Internazionale de Arte Cinema, Naples, October, 2007
48 th Festival dei Popoli, Florence, November, 2007
MAN IN THE WOODS: THE ART OF RUDY BURCKHARDT (2003, 24 min)
Documents the thinking, working processes, and art of this photographer, filmmaker, and painter, who was born in Basel in 1914 and died in Searsmont, Maine, in 1999. Includes interviews with Robert Storr, Brian Wallis, and Yvonne Jacquette.
Featured in the following film festivals:
22nd Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, 2004
Best of Festival award at the Berkley Film and Video Festival, 2004
HANUMAN PRESENTS! (1998, 42 min)
Documents a 1989 reading at St. Mark’s Church in New York of 14 writers from the Hanuman Books series, including Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Hell, Herbert Huncke, Taylor Mead, Cookie Mueller, Eileen Myles, Rene Rica. With footage from the films by Rudy Burckhardt.
RED GROOMS’ GREATEST HITS (1997 8 min)
A compilation of Grooms own films, happenings, and films done about the artist, including television footage from “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” and “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
ALEX KATZ FIVE HOURS (1996, 21 min)
Documents Katz painting the six-by- fourteen foot January 3 in five hours, accompanied by the music of Meredith Monk. Produced by the Checkerboard Foundation.
RED GROOMS AT GRAND CENTRAL (1994, 17 min.)
Documents a 1993 retrospective of the artist’s gigantic, walk-through, sculptures at Grand Central Terminal, New York. Commissioned by Marlborough Gallery.
RED GROOMS IN IOWA (1992, 12 min.)
Documents the fabrication, painting and installation of a “sculpto-picto- rama” by Red Grooms, including interviews with the artist on his process. Commissioned by the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa
BROOKLYN BRIDGE (1991, 8 min. 40 sec.)
Documents the restoration of a major piece from artist Red Grooms’ historic 1976 environmental installation, Ruckus Manhattan. Commissioned by Museum of Outdoor Arts, Denver.
KENNETH KOCH BRASIL (1989, 4 min.)
Production for video of four plays from Koch’s One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays: Départ Malgache, Hippopotamus Migration in Africa , Incident on the Street , and The Arrival Of Homosexuality In Greece, or The Fagabond, filmed in Ubatuba, Brazil, with Brazilian actors.
LAST DAY (1989, 29 min.)
A fictional narrative based on experience running performance club in Boston, Massachusetts.MAKING KADDISH (1988, 26 min.)
Documents the 1988 Eye and Ear Theater production of Allen Ginsberg's play
Kaddish, with sets by Eric Fischl. Commissioned by Eye and Ear Theater.