In Memory

Paul Arthur

Paul Arthur

Paul Arthur, a film historian, scholar and critic well known for writing about American avant-garde cinema and documentaries, died on Tuesday, March 25, 2008, at his home in White Plains. He was 60.

The cause was melanoma, for which he had just started treatment, said Karen Arthur, his former wife.

A professor of English and film studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he had been named a distinguished scholar for 2007-8, Mr. Arthur had a decades-long passionate involvement with the American avant-garde film scene.

He was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Illinois and New Jersey. He studied English at Tufts University and film at New York University, from which he received his doctorate in cinema studies in 1985. He taught at New York University, Bard College, the University of Southern California and the Otis Art Institute at the Parsons School of Design.

He was first published in the early 1970s, and over the next few decades he wrote fluidly and accessibly on a range of topics, notably avant-garde cinema but also film noir and documentary. His work appeared in publications including Artforum, Film Comment, Cineaste, The Village Voice and USA Today magazine. For several years starting in the mid-1980s he served on the board for two venerable avant-garde film institutions in New York: the Collective for Living Cinema, an adventurous screening space, now closed, and the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, a nonprofit film-rental library.

Mr. Arthur also ventured behind the camera. In 1970 he began his first short, “Correspondences,” which he shot in 8-millimeter film and finished some five years later. He completed 14 other films, including a 1986 feature-length work called “(Late) of the Primate’s Palace,” which he described in the Film-Makers’ Cooperative catalog as an autobiographical travelogue and which was dedicated to his father.

His work has been collected in more than two dozen books and catalogs. In 2005 Mr. Arthur published a well-received study, “A Line of Sight: American Avant-Garde Film Since 1965.” At his death he was preparing three other books, including one on the British filmmaker Nick Broomfield, scheduled for publication this year.

He is survived by his daughters Jarrett and Devin; his mother, Pearl Fried; and a sister, Rosanne Arthur.

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

04/29/18 02:43 PM #1    

Frank Siteman

04/30/18 08:41 AM #2    

Julia Baker (Schnupp)

Frank, what a touching and informative tribute to Paul .. I am sorry to admit that I did not know him well. Let’s hope we can reach our fiftieth with no more losses of 1969 members.

go to top 
  Post Comment