Warren Sonbert with his Bolex. Courtesy Gartenberg Media Enterprises

May 11, 2023 – May 19, 2023

The Museum of Modern Art

In a career that spanned the American experimental film world from New York City to San Francisco, filmmaker Warren Sonbert (1947–1995) was driven by the belief that “independent film…is the only avenue for those who want to take risks and satisfy their own self-imposed demands.” This retrospective of a seminal figure in experimental film encompasses Sonbert’s complete body of work from its beginning in 1966. Comprising seven programs screened almost entirely in 16mm, the series opens on the theme of queer identity, and goes on to focus on Sonbert’s early flirtation with Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, his travel diaries, the evolving styles, strategies, and poetics of his 16mm film work, and much more. Jon Gartenberg, curator of Sonbert’s creative legacy, remarks, “Sonbert’s film Carriage Trade was first shown in 1971 in the MoMA Cineprobe series, and it has been nearly two decades since the last retrospective of his films in New York City. This series can be considered a capstone to Warren Sonbert’s creative career.”

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, Department of Film, and Guest Curator Jon Gartenberg, with Carson Parish, Associate Producer, Department of Film.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, and Karen and Gary Winnick.

Series Overview & Screening Schedule