On October 12, artists Drew Heitzler and Sam Sharit unveiled a new video installation titled The Professor’s Long Windy Tail on the façade of NeueHouse Hollywood. The animated projection was visible to the public nightly on the exterior of NeueHouse’s first west coast site at the historic CBS Radio Building on Sunset Boulevard.
The Professor’s Long Windy Tail centers around the character of Felix the Cat, the first moving image ever broadcast on US television. Heitzler and Sharit interweave images across the cartoon superstar’s nearly 100-year history to create a sprawling black and white video projection. The piece is a nod to Felix’s indelible impact in pop culture and art history where his universe has been appropriated by artists like Mark Leckey and Raymond Pettibon.
Within Heitzler and Sharit’s video, Felix’s position as artistic inspiration, powerhouse commodity and intellectual stimulus are abstractly interwoven. The installation consists of two silent storylines occurring simultaneously: The Professor, long known to be after Felix the Cat’s enviable magic bag of tricks, stands at the center of the projection reading a lecture from a book spouting abstract phrases; and Felix the Cat wonders across the façade, painting different animated historical versions of himself on the building.
To mirror the NeueHouse installation, Drew Heitzler had a Felix The Cat room installation at The Pancake Epidemic.
“I have an ongoing series of works on paper, sometimes titled Water Damage, sometimes titled Water Logic, that entails photos of book covers printed on wet watercolor paper. This series has included serious literature as well as comic books. The works on paper installed in your office are part of this series. For me it was another way of tying the video I made with NeueHouse and Dreamworks back to my larger project of creating an abstract narrative composed of bits of Los Angeles’ history, whether fact or fiction.”
– Drew Heitzler