Americas

George Kuchar
Burrito Bay

Burrito Bay is a video by George Kuchar that follows the format of a diary or travelogue centered on a tropical trip to Acapulco, Mexico. The footage was filmed during the production of Tropical Vulture, a cross-generational collaborative project between George Kuchar and his then student, Mexican artist Miguel Calderón. The video strays away from the conventions of documentary: Kuchar adds an array of effects such as fadeouts between scenes, overlaid digital shapes traversing across the frame, and a strange, unexpected soundtrack. These effects, together with the lack of a cohesive narrative, give Burrito Bay a dream-like, surreal quality that is commonplace in his work. Whether through scenes of roadside urinating, the group lounging in the poolside, preparing breakfast or staying indoors on a rainy day, Burrito Bay gives us a glimpse into Kuchar himself and the inner workings of his mind.

George Kuchar was a key figure in experimental and independent filmmaking in the Bay Area and more broadly across America. He gained prominence through his Super 8 and 16mm films produced throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s. Some of his most well-known titles such as Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966) gave him international recognition and legendary status in underground cinema. In the 1980s, after more than three decades of working with film, Kuchar transitioned to video, and subsequently created hundreds of low-fi, diaristic videos that oscillated between real life and fiction. Many of these camcorder pieces featured Kuchar or his friends as actors, and he also regularly collaborated his students from the San Francisco Art Institute. Throughout his very prolific output of over 350 films, Kuchar was known for pushing the limits of film and cinematic tradition, and for creating a distinct visual language that was joyously nonsensical and reflected his extraordinary humor and wit. Whether featuring UFOs, weather, defecating, urinating, or forbidden passions—Kuchar embedded his eccentric videos with himself, often at his most intimate and profound.