Click to skip to site content
MOCA Artist Film Series: Ulysses Jenkins

Still from Remnants of the Watts Festival, 1972-73, 1980. © Ulysses Jenkins

MOCA Artist Film Series: Ulysses Jenkins
Remnants of the Watts Festival, 1972-73, 1980, 60 min.


MOCA Artist Film series is an active and dynamic platform for the presentation of artist films. Inspired by film and video works in MOCA’s renowned collection, the series offers engaging and notable screenings and live programs with MOCA collection artists and beyond. With presentations in the Ahmanson Auditorium, screenings and Q&As feature artists, historians, and critics in dialogue with special focus on experiments in long-form, narrative or feature-length films. Centered in the cinema capital of the world, these programs explore the critical issues of our time and our place.

Screening of Remnants of the Watts Festival, 1972-73, followed by an in-conversation with Ulysses Jenkins and artist Amitis Motevalli.

In 1972 and 1973, Ulysses Jenkins and the collective from Venice, California known as Video Venice News documented the Watts Summer Festival—a major Black cultural event established in 1966 to commemorate the Watts Rebellion that jolted the Los Angeles community the year before. In addition to capturing an electrifying performance by the funk band War, this historically important tape examines the issue of covert surveillance that has long defined the relationship between the state and the Black community in America.

Jenkins will be present for a post-screening conversation with fellow artist Amitis Motevalli.

Ulysses Jenkins is a pivotal figure in the Los Angeles art scene. A Los Angeles native, Jenkins studied painting and drawing in Louisiana before going on to receive an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design. Before attending Otis, Jenkins worked with the Los Angeles County Probation Department teaching art to nondelinquent youth, and in 1989, taught video through a gang-intervention program in Oakland, California. Jenkins is the recipient of numerous awards including from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1979 for his work Two Zone Transfer (1979), and was named first place in experimental video by the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1990 and 1992. In 2022, his work was featured in a major solo exhibition Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation (2022) at the Hammer Museum. Jenkins is Emeritus Professor in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and African American Studies program at the University of California, Irvine.

Amitis Motevalli is an artist who explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict and/or war. Her experience as a trans-national migrant and community organizer are foundational in her work and research which asks questions about the documentation and canonization of histories, related, in particular, to violence. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, exhibiting art internationally as well as organizing to create an active and critical cultural discourse through information exchange with cultural producers, artists, and educators.

MOCA Artist Film Series is organized by Clara Kim, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs with Alitzah Oros, Public Programming Associate, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

MOCA Artist Film Series is presented by The Edward F. Limato Foundation.