UArts alumni (1969) and identical twins Timothy and Stephen Quay were featured on last week’s cover of City Paper, but it was the quote inside that caught this librarian’s eye:
“The thing that we liked instantly was that the college had a fantastic library and music library and a fantastic film course. We suddenly dove into a period of hunting and researching and learning things that we wouldn’t have had access to in high school. And you’d see a lot of other artists at work. It was really a hothouse — a humbling experience in the best sense of the word.”
The library is of course what was then the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) library, and the music library they mention is that of the Philadelphia Musical Academy, with whom PCA had reciprocal library access. The Philadelphia Musical Academy is today’s UArts School of Music, and PCA is the UArts College of Art and Design. The libraries are now the UArts Greenfield Library and UArts Music Library.
The film course they mention was probably taught by the late David Grossman, a local legend known for his repertory film screenings. Grossman is listed as teaching a Liberal Arts department film course in the 1967-69 PCA catalog.
What’s so great about the Quay Brothers? A September 7, 1999 Village Voice article says “To call the Quays’ work the most original and rapturously vivid image-making on the planet might sound like hyperbole until you see the films, which have no genuine precedent (the films of their forerunners, from Ladislaw Starewicz to Jan Svankmajer, are charmingly crude by comparison) and can redefine your ideas of cinematic space and causality.”
Find out for yourself by watching some Quay Brothers DVDs, available in the UArts Greenfield Library. Search the library catalog by author for Brothers Quay, which is how they used to prefer to be known.