William E. Jones

William E. Jones is an artist and filmmaker who teaches film history at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He has made two feature length experimental films, Massillon (1991) and Finished (1997), several short videos, including The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography (1998), the feature length documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004), and many video installations. His films and videos were the subject of retrospectives at Tate Modern, London, in 2005, and at Anthology Film Archives, New York, in 2010. He has worked in the adult video industry under the name Hudson Wilcox.


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While the famous names of that journalistic common- place called the New German Cinema drew much from his films [...] Schroeter himself was left to one side, consigned to the role of visionary outcast realizing works often described as “high camp” in a tone that barely concealed a disdain for the queer non-conformist. He is a filmmaker with no place.

published on the occasion of the 2014 Whitney Biennial


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Roehr/Warhol/Rocco/Lynde is an investigation of four figures from high and low culture through appropriated quotes and documents.  The connections between this disparate group (a German post-minimalist artist, plus three Americans – the Pop artist, a pioneering gay erotic filmmaker, and a television star of the 1960s and 70s) become clear as the footnotes, footnotes within footnotes, et cetera, unfold in a parody of an academic text.

Originally written as program notes for Elective Affinities, a Hammer Museum screening series co-curated by Larry Johnson, the book has been revised and illustrated for publication by William E. Jones.   40 Pages • Limited Edition


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Halsted Plays Himself

Fred Halsted’s L.A. Plays Itself (1972) was gay porn’s first masterpiece: a sexually explicit, autobiographical, experimental film whose New York screening left even Salvador Dalí repeatedly muttering “new information for me.” Halsted, a self-taught filmmaker, shot the film over a period of three years in a now-vanished Los Angeles, a city at once rural and sleazy.

Although his cultural notoriety at one point equaled that of Kenneth Anger or Jack Smith, Halsted’s star waned in the 1980s with the emergence of a more commercial gay-porn industry. After the death from AIDS of his long-time partner, lover, spouse (and tormentor) Joey Yale in 1986, Halsted committed suicide in 1989.

In Halsted Plays Himself, acclaimed artist and filmmaker William E. Jones documents his quest to capture the elusive public and private personas of Halsted–to zero in on an identity riddled with contradictions. Jones assembles a narrative of a long-gone gay lifestyle and an extinct Hollywood underground, when independent films were still possible, and the boundary between experimental and pornographic was not yet established. The book also depicts what sexual liberation looked like at a volatile point in time–and what it looked like when it collapsed.

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