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Jackelope

Ken Harrison

Sound | 1975 | 1976

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    This documentary by independent filmmaker Ken Harrison provides a look into the contemporary Texas art world of the mid-‘70s. Shot in 1975, Jackelope is loosely divided into three segments, each focusing on three young artists: James Surls, George Green, and Bob Wade. The first segment documents sculptor/ woodcarver James Surls and the evolution of one particular piece (Blind Bear with a Crooked Stick) - its conception, its physical creation (with memorable footage of Surls sawing trees) and later refinement in the studio, to, finally, the piece's exhibition at San Antonio's Witte Museum. The second features George Green at work in his Houston studio as well as in his more leisurely moments: flipping through a family photo album, talking at an artists' party, and on a trip to Galveston Island. Road footage of artist Bob Wade comprises the third segment, with stops at Jernigan's Taxidermy in Waco, hatmaker Manny Gammage's Austin store, the Luckenbach World's Fair, artist Mel Casa's house outside of San Antonio, and, memorably, a shooting range outside of Waco. Wade's work in a group installation at a New York City gallery concludes Jackelope. The documentary captures each artist in the more casual moments of their lives, capturing their ideas about art, the artistic process, Texas and other topics in the process. Not only does Jackelope also include appearances by fellow Texas artists Mike McNamara, Letitia Eldridge, Mel Casas, and John Alexander, the film is also intercut with footage of many of these same artists in discussion with each at parties, openings, and at each others' studios, giving us a rare glimpse into an often overlooked scene.