“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 firstname.lastname@example.org and reference your donation.
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Selected Visual Music-related articles by and about William Moritz
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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