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Color Cry

Details
Artist: Len Lye
Programme: Grand Stair Screenings: Museum Playtime
Year: 1952
Director: Len Lye
Format: Digital File
Type: Screening
Length: 3 min 57 sec
Language: Not Applicable
Audience: Children & Families
Location: Grand Stair
Accessibility:

Color Cry

Created using a camera-less technique, Color Cry is one of the first experimental films Len Lye made after moving to New York. Inspired by the vibrant blues and jazz traditions in America, Color Cry reflects Lye’s philosophy as a self-taught artist—to create works, without relying on specialized training or specific cultural knowledge, that audiences of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy.

Lye used stencils and fabrics to create sequences of colour and pattern directly on the film strip. The images, together with rhythmic movements of dots, bars, grids, and colour fields, are synchronised to a blues song by musician Sonny Terry. Tune into this animated film at the Grand Stair!

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

Directed by Len Lye. Color Cry, 1953. Image courtesy of Len Lye

About the Director

Born in New Zealand, Leonard Charles Huia Lye—known as Len Lye—was largely a self-taught artist. His upbringing and travels in the South Pacific exposed him to Maori and Australian Aboriginal art forms, which shaped his early works that borrowed dyeing techniques from Indonesian batiks. Moving to London in 1926 and staying through WWII, he became part of a high-profile circle of modernist and Surrealist artists.

In the 1930s, Lye began creating highly original animated films, informed by his avant-garde network and his interest in Indigenous arts. He moved to New York in 1944, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was an influential presence in the post-war New York art scene, mixing directorial work for Time Inc. with continued experiments in filmmaking and kinetic sculpture.

M+ Opening Programmes

M+ celebrates its grand opening with a programme of events designed to welcome visitors to its newly opened space. Whether you are a seeker of new insights or an arts enthusiast, we invite you to the world of visual culture through our thematic tour, workshop, performances, and screenings.

M+ is more than just a museum—it is also a platform for visitors of different ages, backgrounds, and abilities to interact and exchange ideas with artists, makers, and the community. We welcome everyone—with or without knowledge in visual culture. All you need to be is curious!

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