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John Cohen to screen films at Connecticut College

Jack Kerouac listening to himself on the radio, 1959, by John Cohen.
Jack Kerouac listening to himself on the radio, 1959, by John Cohen.

Musician, filmmaker and photographer John Cohen will present a selection of his films at Connecticut College on Tuesday, March 29. Although best known as a musician (he was a founder of the New Lost City Ramblers), Cohen began a campaign for the recognition of traditional roots/folk music which led him to produce 15 films and hundreds of photographs and recordings.

Through film, Cohen was able to portray traditional musicians in their home settings, reveal the environment in which music happens and suggest how music functions within its community. He has documented music and culture in America, Europe and South America, but is especially dedicated to the preservation of Appalachian folk music and the music and culture of the Peruvian Andes. A photographer since 1954, Cohen started the photography program at Purchase College, SUNY, in 1972 and taught classes there for 25 years. His photographs of the Beat Generation poets, traditional musicians and well-known artists like Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters are often seen in films and television productions. His work has the appearance of being made in a "documentary style," yet it reflects his own viewpoint as a visual artist.

Cohen's body of work crosses many disciplines - both in the arts and sciences - and he has been recognized in a wide range of fields. His photographs are in major museum collections and publications; his award-winning films have been shown on PBS, BBC and at festivals worldwide; and the recordings of the New Lost City Ramblers have received several Grammy nominations. The March 29 screening, which will be followed by a discussion, is at 4:30 p.m. in Room 014 of F.W. Olin Science Center. This event is presented with support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.

March 9, 2011