Frames from the film “Presenting Jane” (1953)
Top: poets John Ashbery (left) and Frank O'Hara flank James Schuyler, who wrote the script for the short film;
Below: painter Jane Freilicher walks on water.
The Harvard Film Archive
The Woodberry Poetry Room
During the summer of 1952, poets John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, James Schuyler, and Kenneth Koch, among other friends, all convened at a house in the Hamptons to enjoy a brief vacation and shoot a short movie, conceived and scripted by Schuyler. Over the years, their friendships would become formalized by critics and historians as the New York School—a sort of loose association of writers and artists all working and living together in mid-century New York. But that summer there was no “school,” just friends enjoying each other’s company, playing, being silly, making art, and living.
The 11 minute silent film, “Presenting Jane,” was to be yet another ode to the boys’ favorite muse, the painter Jane Freilicher, who ran in the same artistic circles but first met the bunch through Koch while living in the same apartment building. Freilicher was the first person Ashbery met when he moved to New York: his first stop in the city was at her apartment, to pick up Koch’s key. She would soon become subject of many a poem, most famously O’Hara’s “Jane” series. This time, through rudimentary cinematic trickery, she was to be made to look as though she could walk on water.
#presentingjane #janefreilicher #johnashbery #frankohara #jamesschuyler #kennethkoch #newyorkschool #poets #painters #filmakers #filmstrip #summer #hamptons #newyork #1950s #kids #goofingaround @harvardfilmarchive @harvard