Skip to content
Poster for Jeff Preiss and Josiah McElheny's A Secret World

MoMA presents the world premiere of Josiah McElheny and Jeff Preiss' A Secret World, an experimental portrait of the New York gallerist and publisher Christine Burgin told through her Borgesian library of strange and visionary books by such eclectic figures as Dinshah Ghadiali, Eva Carrière, Charles Ford, Richard Shaver, and Wilhelm Reich. Seen through 16mm film, VHS tape, and 35mm slide sources—as well as the full spectrum of visible color—A Secret World invites us into a self-contained universe of mystical, even crackpot thinking and imagining, as Burgin’s longtime friends and “documentarians” Jeff Preiss and Josiah McElheny leaf through “images of lost Atlantis found in a rock, perpetual motion machines or manifested ectoplasm in historic performances.” A Secret World is McElheny and Preiss’s third film collaboration.

A New York-based artist and writer with work in MoMA’s collection, McElheny was the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship in 2006. His sculptures, paintings, installations, performances, and films, which often combine glass or mirror with other materials, are as sensuous as they are cerebral, engaging with histories of modernism through close readings of literature, architecture and design theory, musicology, and science. Preiss is a New York-based writer-director, cinematographer, curator, and visual artist who cofounded the legendary Lower East Side gallery Orchard in 2005, and who also has work in MoMA’s collection. He was the director of photography on the Rosa von Praunheim-produced vampire film Der Biss (1984) and Bruce Weber’s Let’s Get Lost (1989) before presenting his own 2012 experimental feature Stop in the New York Film Festival and winning prizes at Sundance and Karlovy Vary for his 2014 fiction feature Low Down. The screening is followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, Christine Burgin, and Joshua Siegel, curator in the Department of Film.


Back To Top