You can now watch ‘The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal’ for free, a Portland indie classic

Can the destruction of art be an art in itself?

This is the question at the heart of the director Matt McCormick’short documentary The subconscious art of graffiti removal, a classic DIY Portland cinema part that is now streaming for free (and was recently restored).

Directed by McCormick and narrated by Miranda July, The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal argues that graffiti removal is one of the most important art movements of the 21st century, comparing it to abstract expressionism, minimalism, and surrealism.

After its debut in 2002, McCormick’s film (which was shot on 16mm) was acclaimed by Art forum, filmmaker’s magazine and The voice of the village. It originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which remastered it in 4K.

McCormick is one of Portland’s most prolific filmmakers. In 1995, when he was 22, he threw everything he had in his car, started driving, and ran out of money in Portland. At a now-closed Laurelhurst restaurant called Pumpernickel’s, he rose through the ranks from dishwasher to sandwich maker and then graduated to film city council meetings for cable television.

McCormick’s biggest contributions to the local film scene include founding Peripheral Produce (the festival and distribution collective that gave July her first screen debut). He also directed the feature film Some days are better than otherswith Carrie Brownstein and James Mercer of the Shins.

This isn’t the first time McCormick has raised The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal. In 2018, he included it in a film compilation titled Portland 90, which also included shorts and film clips from July, Gus Van Sant and Vanessa Renwick.

Despite the films representing a lost era of DIY cinema in Portland, McCormick struck an optimistic note when speaking to WW about the project.

“I still think Portland is an amazing city, and I have high hopes for it,” he said. “I also know that’s going to continue to change. And I hope people will put programs on and look at the work of that time and think about how that shaped the contemporary culture of the time that they’re looking at. find. “

Related: Matt McCormick’s grandfather narrowly avoided the nuclear Holocaust. Now Matt is making a movie about it.

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