by nycgo.com staff, 05/21/2014
"Nashville" (1975), directed by Robert Altman. ©2011 Museum of Modern Art
Robert Altman Retrospective at MoMA
December 3–January 15, 2015
It takes 20 years to make an overnight success, the old saw goes. So it was with Robert Altman, who hit it big with MASH in 1970, his signature style (large stock company, interwoven story lines, overlapping dialogue, long zoom lenses prowling the landscape) fully in place from long years of quick-and-dirty TV work. In short order came a pair of minor classics (McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye), and a sprawling, downbeat tour de force (Nashville), followed by decades of ups and downs. Those years, populated by worthy art-house experiments (Three Women), flops (Popeye), groundbreaking television (Tanner '88) and successful entertainments (The Player, Gosford Park), reminded critics and public alike that he never stopped shooting—not until his death in 2006, at age 81. Now, MoMA gives a titan of American movies the full retrospective he deserves, including features, his work for broadcast TV and cable and hard-to-find industrials and documentaries.