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The William Moritz Project

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“I believe mankind has an innate urge towards Visual Music.”

  Dr. William Moritz

Dr. William Moritz was the preeminent scholar on the subject of Visual Music and a longtime friend of the iotaCenter. Moritz authored hundreds of articles on Visual Music, animation and experimental film, and also published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Jordan Belson, Hy Hirsh, Mary Ellen Bute, and many others. His fifty stories outlining the history of experimental animation for the AbsolutPanushka website was hailed as groundbreaking. Moritz received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work on Visual Music. At the annual Annie Awards in 2005, Moritz was posthumously recognized with the “June Foray Award” for his significant impact on the world of animation.

Moritz received his doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1968. He has taught at Occidental College, USC, and the Californal Institute of the Arts. As an early supporter of experimental film, Moritz promoted Visual Music programming venues such as the Los Angeles Filmmaker’s Cooperative, Theatre Vanguard and Los Angeles Film Oasis. He curated countless screenings including KINETICA&trade 1, 2 and 4 for iota, as well as The Spiritual in Art and Degenerate Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Moritz enjoyed decades of friendship with Elfriede Fischinger and worked closely with her to bring the work of her late husband, Oskar Fischinger, to a wider audience. Moritz's efforts culminated in 2004 with the publication of Optical Poetry, the definitive biography of Oskar Fischinger.

The iotaCenter actively continues the William Moritz Project as we add more articles to the website, preserve more films, and digitize more artwork. Please join us in working to protect and sustain Moritz's legacy. You can contribute to this effort with a donation to iota's William Moritz Project. If you would like your donation to go towards a specific area of the project, please write us with details at and reference your donation.

Donations can be made through Paypal:

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The iotaCenter
10401-106 Venice Blvd #330
Los Angeles, CA 90034

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The iotaCenter is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Selected Visual Music-related articles by and about William Moritz

"Weekend in Los Angeles." The Weekly Planet. 24 Jan 1969: 4-5.

“Oskar Fischinger: Fantasia's Forerunner." Coast FM & Fine Arts v.11 n.6 (June 1970): 44-45.

"Three Books on Experimental Cinema." Film Quarterly v.25 n.4 (Summer 1972): 31-34.

"The Films of Oskar Fischinger." Film Culture n.58, 59, 60 (1974): 37-187.

“The Importance of Being Fischinger." Exhibition catalog. Ottawa International Animated Film Festival. 1976. 2-6.

"Der abstrakte Film seit 1930 -- Tendenzen der West Coast." Exhibition catalog. Film als Film, 1910 bis Heute. Ed. Birgit Hein and Wulf Herzogenrath. Kölnischer Kunstverein, November 1977, 128-165.

"The Art of Oskar Fischinger." Video recording. Camera 3. CBS television broadcast, 2 July 1977.

"Fischinger at Disney, or Oskar in the Mousetrap." Millimeter. v.5 n.2. (Feb 1977): 25-28, 65-67.

"A Note of Series and Serial Arrangement in Pat O'Neill's Recent Films." Chapbook. Beyond Baroque: Venice, CA, May 1977, 28-29.

O'Neill, Beverly. "Observers Observed: an Interview with Bill Moritz." Chapbook. Beyond Baroque: Venice, CA, May 1977, 18-19.

"The Poetic Eye: A Declaration of Independents." Program notes. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Oct-Nov 1977.

"William Moritz Interview." Cinéma différent n.11-12 (mai-juin 1977): 3-5.

"Beyond 'Abstract' Criticism." Film Quarterly v.31 n.3 (Spring 1978): 29-39.

"Non-Objective Film: the Second Generation." Exhibition catalog. Film as Film, Formal Experiment in Film, 1910 - 1975. London: Hayward Gallery, 1979, 59-71.

"You Can't Get Then from Now." Journal: Southern California Art Magazine. Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. n.29 (Summer 1981): 26-40, 70-72.

Goldstein, Patrick. "Even Greeks had Ear for Visuals: an Interview with William Moritz." Los Angeles Times. 18 Nov 1983, Calendar: 1+13.

"Music for a New Age." The Advocate. n.401 (21 Aug 1984): 35.

"Oskar Fischinger." Cinegraph Lexicon. Munich: Text + Kritik, 1984.

"Rétrospective James Whitney." Exhibition catalog. Toronto International Animation Festival program. 1984, 9-14.

"Video Seen: the Roots of Music Videos." Grammy Pulse. v.2 n.5 (Oct/Nov 1984): 4-5.

"The Poetic Eye: James Whitney." The Advocate. n.417 (2 Apr 1985): 28-30.

"Towards a Visual Music." Cantrills Filmnotes. Melbourne. n.47-48 (Aug 1985): 35-42.

"Under the Double Helix" and "The Spirals of Oskar." Poem. Spiral. n.2 (Jan 1985): 50-59.

"Who's Who in Filmmaking: James Whitney." Sightlines. v.19 n.2 (Winter 1985/1986): 25-27.

"Abstract Film and Color Music." The Spiritual In Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985. New York: Abbeville, 1986, 296-311.

"La Drammaturgia Cromatica." Teatro Contemporaneo. v.6 n.11-12 (May 1986): 167-186.

"The Films of John Whitney." Laserdisc program notes. Tokyo: Pioneer Laserdisc, 1986.

"The Private World of Oskar Fischinger." Laserdisc program notes. Tokyo: Pioneer Laserdisc, 1986.

"Towards an Aesthetic of Visual Music." ASIFA Canada Bulletin. v.14 n.3 (Dec 1986): 1-3.


"Het Mysterie in de Abstracte Film (The Dream of Color Music)." Exhibition catalog. Amsterdam: Nederlands Filmmuseum, 1987.

"From Babelsberg to Hollywood: Film Emigrants from Nazi Germany." Exhibition catalog. Von Babelsberg nach Hollywood: Filmemigranten aus Deutschland. Trans. William Moritz. Frankfurt: Deutsches Filmmuseum, 1987.

"Der Traum von der Farbmusik." Clip, Klapp, Bum. Ed. Veruschka Body and Peter Weibel. Cologne: DuMont, 1987, 17-160.

"Abstrakter Film und Farbmusik." Das Geistige in der Kunst: Abstrakte Malerei 1890-1985. Trans. William Moritz. Stuttgart: Urachhaus, 1988, 296-311.

"The Private World of Oskar Fischinger." Mirrors and Hammers: Eight Germanic Intellectuals in Los Angeles. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Educational Partnership, Humanitas, 1988, 155-166.

"Some Observations on Non-Objective and Non-Linear Animation." Storytelling in Animation: the Art of the Animated Image, Volume 2. Ed. John Canemaker. Los Angeles: American Film Institute, 1988, 21-31.

"Strubbelingen rond een kopie: Ballet Mécanique." Versus. Amsterdam, 1988/9, 132-140.

"Abstract Films of the 1920s." International Experimental Film Congress. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989, 52-57.

"Film Censorship during the Nazi Era." "Degenerate Art": the Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany. New York: Abrams, 1991), 184-191.

"Restoring the Aesthetics of Early Abstract Films." Swedish Avantgarde Film 1924-1990. New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1991, 6-11.

"Filmzensur während der Nazi-Zeit." "Entartete Kunst": Das Schicksal der Avantgarde im Nazi-Deutschland. Trans. William Moritz. Munich: Hirmer, 1992, 184-191.

"Fischerkoesen et le charme de la résistance." Exhibition catalog. Ottawa International Animated Film Festival, 1992, 39-40.

"Resistance and Subversion in Animated Films of the Nazi Era: The Case of Hans Fischerkoesen." Animation Journal. v.1 n.1 (Fall 1992): 4-33.

"Giannalberto Bendazzi's Cartoons, le cinéma d'animation 1892-1992." Rev. Animation Journal. v.1 n.2 (Spring 1993): 79-80.

"Oskar Fischinger: Leben und Werk." Optische Poesie. Frankfurt: Deutsches Filmmuseum, 1993, 7-90.

"Visuelle Musik: Höhlenmalereien für MTV? (Visual Music: Cave Painting to MTV?)" Sound & Vision. Frankfurt: Deutsches Filmmuseum, 1993, 132-145.

"Bilder-Recycling." Visueller Sound. Luzern: Zyklop, 1994, 26-45.

"Color Harmony/Color Music." El color en el arte mexicano. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autonomica de México, 1994, 34-36.

"Jules Engel, Post-Modernist." Exhibition catalog. Cardiff International Animation Festival, 1994, 33-37.

"Oskar Fischinger: artiste de ce siècle." L'armateur. no. 12 (Jul-Aug-Sep 1994): 29-33.

"Americans in Paris: Man Ray and Dudley Murphy." Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avantgarde, 1919-1945. Ed. Jan-Christopher Horak. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, 118-136.

"Concerning the Aesthetic Autonomy of Animation, and Why the Short Film is Not Just a Shorter Feature Film." Keynote Address. Filmfest Dresden, 19 April 1995.

"Le Gasparcolor: une procédure chromatique (Gasparcolor: Perfect Hues for Animation)." Lecture. Musée du Louvre, 6 October 1995.

"Jordan Belson."
"Oskar Fischinger in America."
"Hy Hirsh."
"Dudley Murphy."
"James Whitney."
Articulated Light: The Emergence of Abstract Film in America. Boston: Harvard Film Archive, 1995, 9-15.

"Musique de la Couleur - Cinéma Intégral (Color Music - Integral Cinema)." Poétique de la Couleur. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 1995, 9-13.

"Animation from the Beginning of Sound to the End of Cinema Cartoons." pp. 267-275.
"Animation in the Post-Industrial Era." pp. 551-558.
The Oxford History of World Cinema. Ed. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996.

"Biography/Filmography of John Whitney." pp. 116-122.
"In Memoriam James Whitney." pp. 258-262.
Exhibition catalog. Osnabrück Media Art Festival, May 1996.

"Mary Ellen Bute: Seeing Sound." Animation World Magazine. v.1 n.2 (May 1996): 29-32.

"Visual Music and Film-as-an-Art Before 1950." On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900-1950. Ed. Paul Karlstrom. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996, 210-241.

"Visuelle Musik: Larry Cuba's Experimentalfilm (Visual Music: Larry Cuba's Experimental Film)." Mediagramm, ZKM (Center for Art and Media) Karlsruhe. n.24 (July 1996): 12-13.

"Jordan Belson." p. 47, 313.
"Ed Emshwiller."
"Oskar Fischinger." p. 154-158, 317.
"Hy Hirsh." p. 203.
"Dudley Murphy." p. 312.
"Pat O'Neill." p. 347-348.
"Harry Smith." p. 415-416, 326.
"Stan Vanderbeek." p. 443.
"James Whitney." p. 461-462, 328.
"John Whitney." p. 463-464.
L'art du Mouvement 1919-1996. Ed. Jean-Michel Bouhours, Cinéma du Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris: Centre Pompidou, 1996. By William Moritz.

"Digital Harmony: The Life of John Whitney, Computer Animation Pioneer." Animation World Magazine. v.2 n.5 (Aug 1997), 29-31.

"The Dream of Color Music, and Machines That Made it Possible." Animation World Magazine v.2 n.1 (Apr 1997): 20-24.

"Ed Emshwiller at Cal Arts." Intersecting Images: The Cinema of Ed Emshwiller. New York: Anthology Film Archive, 1997, 36-37.

"History of Experimental Animation." Website. Absolut Panushka, curated by Christine Panushka. (Jan-Apr 1997).

"La Romance de l'animation abstraite en relief." Le Relief Au Cinema, 1895. Oct 1997, 134-140.

"Narrative Strategies for Resistance and Protest in Eastern European Animation." p. 38-47.
"Norman McLaren and Jules Engel: Post-Modernists." p. 104-111.
"Resistance and Subversion in the Animated Films of the Nazi era: the Case of Hans Fischerkoesen." p. 228-240.
"Restoring the Aesthetics of Early Abstract Films." p. 221-227.
A Reader In Animation Studies. Ed. Jayne Pilling. Sydney: John Libbey, 1997.

"Restoring Experimental Films." Exhibition catalog. Anthology Film Archives Film Preservation Honors, 1997, 16-17.

"Stan Vanderbeek: The Utopian Magician." Exhibition catalog. European Media Art Festival. Osnabrück, May 1997, 138-140.

"The Film Strip Tells All." Online journal. Animation World Magazine. 1 Sept 1998.

"Jordan Belson." pp.108-109.
"Charles Blanc-Gatti." pp. 109.
"Mary Ellen Bute/Charles Dockum." pp.110-111.
"Oskar Fischinger." pp.116.
"Hy Hirsh." pp. 120.
"Jane Belson Peal." pp. 137.
"Single Wing Turquoise Bird." pp. 141.
"Harry Smith." pp. 142.
"John Stehura. pp. 144.
"Otakar Vavra/Zdenek Pesanek." pp. 149.
"James Whitney." pp. 151.
Pour une Ecologie des Media: Art Cinéma Vidéo Ordinateur. Paris: Astarti, 1998.

"The Absolute Film." Exhibition catalog. WRO99, Media Art Biennale, Wrodaw, Poland, 1999.

"Elfriede Fischinger." Los Angeles Times. 17 May 1999, Metro Desk: 14.

"In Passing...Elfriede Fischinger." Online journal. Animation World Magazine. 1 Sept 1999.

Neubauer, Barbel and William Moritz. "The Influence of Sound/Music on the Image." Online journal. Animation World Magazine. 1 June 1999.

"Jordan Belson: Last of the Great Masters." Animation Journal. v.7 n.2 (Spring 1999): 1-17.

"Influence and Inspiration: the Great Tradition of Visual Music." Exhibition catalog. KINETICA;trade 2. Los Angeles: The iotaCenter, 2000.

"Len Lye's Films in the Context of International Abstract Cinema." Len Lye. Ed. Jean-Michel Bouhours and Roger Horrocks. Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2000, 193-195.

"Oskar Fischinger: Artist of the Century." Exhibition catalog. KINETICA;trade 2. Los Angeles: The iotaCenter, 2000.

"Hy Hirsh and The Fifties: Jazz and Abstraction in Beat Era Film." Exhibition catalog. KINETICA;trade 3. Los Angeles: The iotaCenter, 2001.

"The Sixties: Spirituality and Psychedelia, Making the Soul Visible." Exhibition catalog. KINETICA;trade 4. Los Angeles: The iotaCenter, 2002.

Allan, Robin. "A Gesture of Serenity." Rev. of Optical Poetry, by William Moritz. Online journal. Animation World Magazine. 17 Feb 2004.

Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004.

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Last modified 2011-01-29 20:19
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