Wexner Center for the Arts to present Lewis Klahr’s Circumstantial Pleasures online beginning May 29

Wed, May 20, 2020

Exclusive film stream will be accompanied by a live conversation with the artist June 5

The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University will present the exclusive online premiere of Circumstantial Pleasures, a new feature-length work by Los Angeles-based, internationally recognized collage animator Lewis Klahr. The work will stream for free Friday, May 29–Thursday, June 18 at wexarts.org/circumstantialpleasures.

On Friday, June 5 at 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT, the Wex will also present a livestream of Klahr in conversation with Associate Film/Video Curator Chris Stults and Courtney Stephens, a filmmaker, programmer, past Wexner Center Film/Video Studio residency artist, and early champion of Klahr’s latest work. 

Composed of six shorts ranging from three to 22 minutes and featuring music by David Rosenboom, Tom Recchion, and Scott Walker, Circumstantial Pleasures (2012–19) represents a notable departure for the artist in style and atmosphere. Klahr usually looks to vintage sources to build his found-image films but here employs more modern imagery, generating a sense of unease that’s perfectly attuned to today’s uniquely destabilized social environment.

As Klahr explains, “Occasionally, throughout the decades—Yesterday’s Glue (1990) or my first digital work Antigenic Drift (2007)—I would use current images to describe the present day. But I always knew, at some point, I would create a feature length series of films that used largely contemporary images to explore the current zeitgeist. Beginning in 2012, Circumstantial Pleasures gradually developed into that work.”

The Wex’s relationship with Klahr goes back over 15 years to the first of several visits by the filmmaker. In 2009, Klahr received a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award to support the creation of several shorts including Wednesday Morning Two A.M. and to produce a DVD box set of his films.

The completed Circumstantial Pleasures has been presented only once before publicly—at Brooklyn microcinema Light Industry in late February. Soon after that, venues around the country began suspending in-person programming due to coronavirus concerns. Following conversations with Stults, Klahr agreed to present Circumstantial Pleasures next on the center’s website.

“These new films are Lew’s most contemporary and political works,” says Stults. “They address this present moment in ways that I haven’t seen many other filmmakers do. Though we wish the circumstances were such that we could welcome Lew and the film in person, we’re no less excited to share this major, unexpected work online. We’re happy to provide a way for viewers from around the world to experience it safely from home and to share it easily with friends.”

“I’m very excited that the Wexner Center is releasing Circumstantial Pleasures online,” Klahr says. “I’m glad that this timely work can get more eyes and ears on it during this crisis.”

RSVPs will be required for the June 5 live conversation with the filmmaker; information on how to reserve a spot will be posted to wexarts.org in the coming days.

Circumstantial Pleasures and related programming are presented as part of Wex from Home, an initiative to connect with audiences from a distance through online content that engages and informs. Other highlights include the virtual presentation of Stanya Kahn’s short film No Go Backs in partnership with Vielmetter Los Angeles May 8–24, the livestream music series Wex[EP], and a robust program of streaming films such as Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó and Dan Sallitt’s Fourteen.



Wexner Center programming is made possible by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, the American Electric Power Foundation, The Columbus Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Nationwide Foundation. 


Media contact: Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager, 614.292.9840 or mstarker@wexarts.org