Curriculum Vitae

Film Works

[Note: The present numbering system for Smith's "cinematic excreta" was introduced by the filmmaker at an undetermined time prior to 1964-5, when the works surviving to that point were assembled and made available for 16mm distribution via the Film-Makers' Cooperative. This filmography is consequently not comprehensive: an unknown number of films are lost, and in some cases the present sequence contradicts earlier numbering systems that are referenced in sources prior to 1951. Titles are given where known or generally accepted, though for the earlier films these may have been subject to change as the works were variously edited and screened. It should also be borne in mind that many or most of the films were designed for an expanded presentation context (such as special screens, masking slides, and the like.)]

Film Number 1 A Strange Dream (ca. 1946-48) color; hand-painted 35mm stock photographed in 16mm; soundtrack: "Manteca" by the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra; 2:20 min.

Film Number 2 Message from the Sun (ca. 1946-48) color; hand-painted 35mm stock photographed in 16mm; soundtrack unknown; 2:15 min.

Film Number 3 Interwoven (ca. 1947-49) color; hand-painted 35mm photographed in 16mm; soundtrack: "Guarachi Guaro" by the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra; 3:20 min. (reportedly edited down from ca. 30:00 min.).

Film Number 4 Fast Track (ca. 1949) color (shot of painting depicting the recording "Manteca" by the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra) and black & white (superimposition experiment); 16mm; silent; 2:16 min.

Film Number 5 Circular Tensions (Homage to Oskar Fischinger) (ca. 1950) color; 16mm; silent; 2:30 min.

Film Number 6 [Untitled 3-D Abstraction] (ca. 1950) red/green anaglyphic 3-D; 16mm; silent; 1:30 min.

Film Number 7 Color Study (ca. 1950-51) color; 16mm; silent; 5:25 min.

Film Number 8 [Untitled Black & White Collage] (ca. 1957) black & white; 16mm; soundtrack unknown; ca. 5:00 min. [untraced].

Film Number 9 [Untitled Color Collage] (ca. 1957) color; 16mm; soundtrack unknown; ca. 10:00 min. [untraced].

Film Number 10 Mirror Animations (ca. 1957) color; 16mm; soundtrack unknown; 3:35 min.

Film Number 11 Mirror Animations (ca. 1957) color; 16mm; soundtrack "Misterioso" by Thelonious Monk; 3:35 minutes (see also Film Number 17).

Film Number 12 [Untitled; Named "Heaven and Earth Magic Feature" by Jonas Mekas ca. 1964] (ca. 1957-62) black and white; 16mm; sound; 66:00 min.

Film Number 13 Oz (ca. 1962) color; 35mm widescreen; stereophonic sound; unrealized, except for one sequence: "The Approach to Emerald City" (soundtrack: Ballet Music from Gounod's Faust; ca. 5:00 min.) and an unknown quantity of camera tests (reportedly 3-6 hr.), of which only ca. 15 min., in the form of non-color-corrected rushes, is known to survive (see also Films Number 16, 19, and 20).

Early Abstractions (assembled ca. 1964): contains Films Number 1-5, 7, and 10. Original print silent; an accompanying soundtrack by The Fugs on reel-to-reel tape was used until ca. 1965; subsequently an optical soundtrack taken from the LP Meet the Beatles (Capitol Records) was added.

Film Number 14 Late Superimpositions (1964) color; 16mm; soundtrack: beginning of Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (1956 recording; Columbia Records); 31:00 min. Filmed in New York, New York, and Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Film Number 15 [Untitled Animation of Seminole Patchwork] (ca. 1965-66) color; 16mm; silent; ca. 10 min.

Film Number 16 Oz: The Tin Woodman's Dream (ca. 1967) color; 35mm widescreen; silent; 14:30 min. (Consists of "The Approach to Emerald City" [see Film Number 13] plus kaleidoscopic footage shot ca. 1966.)

Film Number 17 Mirror Animations (Extended Version) (1979) color; 16mm; soundtrack: "Misterioso" by Thelonious Monk; 11:00 min. (Consists of Film Number 11 printed forward-backward-forward.)

Film Number 18 Mahagonny (ca. 1970-80) color; 16mm four-screen process; soundtrack: Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (1957 recording; Columbia Records); 141:00 min.

Film Number 19 [Untitled Excerpts from Film Number 13] (ca. 1980) color; 35mm widescreen; silent; running time unknown [untraced].

Film Number 20 Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (1981) color; 35mm widescreen; silent; 27:00 min. (Consists of Films Number 16 and 19)

Sound Recordings

[Note: Smith's involvement with sound recordings dates from the 1930s. The following section is divided into a Discography of known commercial releases (both as recording engineer and compiler) and a listing of Recording Projects from various stages of Smith's career that have not yet been released.]


Anthology of American Folk Music (1952) originally released as six 33-1/3 rpm 12" long-playing records in three gatefold-jacketed double-album sets: Ballads (FP 251), Social Music (FP 252), and Songs (FP 253) by Folkways Records & Service Corp., N. Y. Edited by Harry Smith, from 78 rpm commercial recordings in his collection originally recorded between 1926 and 1934; included illustrated 24-page 8 1/2" x 10 7/8" booklet of detailed notes written and designed by Smith. Reissued on six compact discs in 1997 by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, D. C., with additional 68-page 12" x 12" booklet and enhanced multimedia content (SFW 40090).

Rabbi Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia, Talmudic Legends and Liturgical Songs (1954) privately released as 15-LP set. Recorded by Harry Smith. 1,000 sets pressed; all but a handful of copies believed lost.

The Kiowa Peyote Meeting (recorded 1964) 3-LP set with 12-page booklet by Smith, released in 1973 as Ethnic Folkways Library FE 4601.

The Village Fugs (1965) Broadside Records BR- 304 (released through Folkways Records). Reissued on ESP-DISK in 1966 as The Fugs First Album, and in CD format with bonus tracks under the same title in 1994 (Fantasy FCD-9668-2).

Allen Ginsberg, First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs (recorded ca. 1970-72; released 1981) Folkways Records (37560).

Cover Artwork

The Equinox Vol. The Holy Books of Thelema by Aleister Crowley, 1986 Weiser Books

Ginsberg, Allen. Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (New York: Harper and Row, 1984).

---. White Shroud, Poems 1980-1985 (New York: Harper and Row, 1986).

---. The Annotated Howl (New York: Harper and Row, 1986).

Ethnographic Collections

Paper Airplane Collection - Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Seminole Patchwork Quilts - Anthropology Department, Smithsonian Institution
String Figures - Office of Folklife Programs, Smithsonian Institution
Goteborg Ethnographic Museum, Stockholm Sweden

Grants and Awards

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 1949
Isabella Gardener 1971
Arthur Young Foundation 1973
American Film Institute 1975
CAPS 1975
Grammy Award for Contribution to American Folk Music 1991
Rex Foundation Grant 1989-1991
Grammy Award (Anthology of American Folk Music, Best Historical Reissue, Liner Notes,) 1997

Selected Film Collections

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Anthology Film Archives,
New York
Oesterreichishes Filmmuseum,
The British Film Institute,
The Cinematheque Francaise,
The Australian Film Archives,
Svenska Filminstitutet,
Moderna Museet,

Selected Film Screenings

1947–1950 The Art in Cinema Society, San Francisco Museum of Art (Including "Five Instruments with Optical Solo" -one man show)
1963–64 Film-Makers' Showcase (Gramercy Arts Theater)
1965–68 Film-Makers' Cinematheque, New York City
1966 New York Film Festival--"The Films of Harry Smith"
1968 The Jewish Museum, New York City
1971 The American Independent Film series, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1972 New Forms in Film--Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1974 New Forms in Film--Montreux, Switzerland
1975 Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
1975 Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
1975 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1978 Biennale di Venezia ("Junggesellenmaschinen Le Machines Celibataires)
1980 Anthology Film Archives, Premiere of No. 18, Mahagonny
1981 Moderna Museet, Stockholm
1983 Amos Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (Experimental & Avant-Garde Films in America, From the Twenties through the Fifties)
1993–94 Anthology Film Archives, Heaven & Earth Magic with original frame filters on Magic Lantern Projectors
1995 Saint Mark's Poetry Project, Premiere of Number 6, 3-D film
2000 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Made in California: Art, Image and Identity, 1900-2000)
2001 Getty Research Insitute (Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular)

Visual Art Exhibitions

Beat Culture and the New America 1950-1965, Whitney Museum, 1985
Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular, Getty Research Insitute, 2001

Lectures and Teaching Positions

Yale University Film Department, 1965
The Schreber Case:Contemporary Views, SUNY/Stony Brook, 1984
Bard College MFA Summer Arts Program, 1985
Naropa Institute Summer Writing Program, Boulder, CO 1988-1990

Selected Bibliography

Berge, Carol. "The Work of Harry Smith: Dialogue Without Words" in Film Culture 37 (Summer 1965), 2-4.

Brown, Mick. "Life in the Far-Out Lane." The Daily Telegraph (London, June 19, 1999).

Cantrill, Arthur. "Harry Smith Interviewed" in Cantrills Filmnotes 19 (October 1974) 6-13.

Cantwell, Robert. "The Ghost in the CD." Village Voice (August 8, 2000) 65.

---. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).

Carroll, Noel. "Mind, Medium and Metaphor in Harry Smith's Heaven and Earth Magic," Film Quarterly (Vol. 31, no. 2, Winter 1977-78).

Cohen, John. "A Rare Interview with Harry Smith" in Sing Out! Vol. 19, No. 1 (April/May 1969), 2-11, 41 and Vol. 19, No. 2 (June/July 1969), 2-12, 41. (Reprinted in facsimile in Igliori, ed., American Magus, and in an expanded version in Singh, ed., Think of the Self Speaking.)

Daniel, Darrin. Harry Smith: Fragments of a Northwest Life (Seattle: Elbow Press, 2000).

Dollar, Steve. "An 'Anthology' Grows and a Folk Hero Lives." The Wall Street Journal (October 4, 2000).

Frankel, David. "Old Folk." Artforum (January 1998) 21.

Fricke, David. "Recording America's Greatest Hits." Rolling Stone (September 18, 1997).

Gascard, Lorettann Devlin. "Motion Painting: 'Abstract' Animation as an Art Form." Leonardo (vol. 16, no.4, Autumn 1983).

Gehr, Richard. "Making the Cut." The Village Voice (November 30, 1999).

Gates, David. "The Roots of Rock." Newsweek (June 2, 1997) 72.

Ginsberg, Allen. [Journals for March 1961] in Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties (New York: Grove Press, 1978), 185-86.

Hill, Mary. "Harry Smith Interviewed." Film Culture No. 76 (June 1992), 1-7.

Hinckley, David. "Perfecting the Self: Harry Smith." New York Daily News (October 15, 1999).

Hoberman, J. "Animators from Hell." Premiere Vol. 4, No. 8 (April 1991), 38-39.

Igliori, Paola, ed. American Magus: Harry Smith, a Modern Alchemist (New York: Inanout Press, 1996).

Kelman, Ken. "Death and Trancefiguration," Film Culture (Fall 1964) 51-53.

Lukach, Joan. Hilla Rebay: In Search of the Spirit in Art (New York: George Braziller, 1983).

Macdonald, Scott. Jordan Belson interview in A Critical Cinema 3 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 64-92.

Manvell, Roger, ed. Experiment in the Film (London: Grey Walls Press, 1949), .

Marcus, Greil. Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes (New York:
Henry Holt, 1997).

---. Mystery Train (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1975).

Mekas, Jonas. "Interview with Harry Smith." Village Voice (June 3, 1971) 22 [reprinted in Jonas Mekas, Movie Journal (New York).

---. "Movie Journal." The Village Voice (March 18, 1965).

Michelson, Annette. "The Mummy's Return: A Kleinian Film Scenario" in Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside. (Princeton, Institute for Advanced Study, 1995)

Nogues, Dominique. "Les 4000 Farces du Diable: Le Cinema de Harry Smith." L'Art Vivant (1977).

Packard, Vance [presumed author]. "Injuneer" in The American Magazine Vol. CXXXV, No. 3 (March 1943) 118.

Renan, Sheldon. An Introduction to the American Underground Film (New York: Dutton, 1968).

Sargeant, Jack. "'Eyeball Head Poem': The Animated Worlds of Harry Smith" in Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (London: Creation Books, 1997), 91-100.

Shelton, Robert, and Dave Gahr. The Face of Folk Music (New York: Citadel Press, 1968).

Singh, Rani. "Harry Smith" and "The Last Day in the Life of Harry Smith." Film Culture 76 (June 1992): 13-21.

---, ed. Think of the Self Speaking (Seattle: Elbow/Cityful Press, 1999).

Sitney, P. Adams. "Absolute Animation" in Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974; revised second edition, 1979) 232.

---. "Animating the Absolute: Harry Smith." Artforum (Vol. 10, May 1972) 61-71.

---. "Harry Smith Interview." Film Culture 37 (Summer 1965) 4-13.

---. "[XXX]" in The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism. (New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1978) [XXX]-[XXX].

"SMITH, Harry" in Film-Makers' Cooperative Catalogue No. 3 (New York: Film-Makers' Cooperative, 1965), 57-58 (reprinted in Film Culture No. 37 [Summer 1965]).

Smith, Philip. "Harry Smith" in The Encyclopedia of Record Producers edited by Eric Olsen, Paul Verna, and Carlo Wolf (New York: Billboard Books, 1999) 740-41.

---. "The Art of Memory." The Wire 196 (June 2000): 25-27.

Turner, Florence. At the Chelsea (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1986).

Wasserman, James. Art and Symbols of the Occult (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1993).

Weisbard, Eric. "The Folk Singers." The Village Voice (January 13, 1998) 71.