In late February 2018 Laguna Art Museum opened the acclaimed exhibition Tony DeLap: A Retrospective. Tony was an integral part of the design of the show, and nearly a year earlier he began planning the exhibition that would fill the entire museum and celebrate his long and influential career. I took the opportunity to tag along, camera in hand, to witness as much of the process as possible. From early brainstorming sessions to the five days of installation, I was there to capture much of what went into the making of the exhibition.
I thought it would be a special opportunity to give people a behind the scenes look at what goes into such an event, but my real reason was simply an excuse to hang out with my pal Tony. Since moving to Dana Point a decade ago Tony had become my closest friend in California - I miss him everyday. I was not unique in feeling close to Tony. Malcolm Warner, the museum’s Executive Director, is in this film quite a bit and I’m pleased that it captures the warmth and ease they felt with one another.
In editing the film I took cues from things Tony and I shared, notably a love of black and white imagery and Jazz. The first part of the film - the planning and installation - are in black and white with the color finally emerging as Tony takes a personal stroll through the completed show, much like the black and white to color transition in the Wizard of Oz, which, knowing Tony’s lifelong interest in magic, felt appropriate. I’ve scored the film with Jazz and its section titles all use words or phrases often associated with jazz. It’s my little nod to our friendship.
This film has no narration, no explanation, it’s just an opportunity to watch, listen and be with Tony, his wife Kathy and the staff at the museum during the design and installation of such an extraordinary exhibition. I hope it conveys enough of that experience to give you a sense of his endearing personality and just how much I enjoyed being in his company.