Sarah Cooper is a curator, writer, and art historian based in Los Angeles.

She is the Public Programs Specialist for performance at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where she directs the experimental performance series Ever Present, among other programs. 

She has organized programs featuring artists and musicians including Kim Gordon, Simone Forti, Brendan Fernandes, Patti Smith, Lonnie Holley, Martin Creed, Midori Takada, Helado Negro, Moor Mother, David Wojnarowicz, Derek Jarman, and Solange Knowles.

In addition, Sarah has held positions at The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Royal Academy in London, and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

She holds a Master's Degree in Art History from Hunter College, New York. Her thesis, Expanding Experimentalism: Popular Music and Art at the Kitchen in New York City, 1971-1985, explores the creative output of artists' bands and the relationship between popular music and avant-garde performance practices.

sarahannecooper [at]


Sarah Cooper

Marjani Forté-Saunders
Milka Djordjevic, Victoria Fu/Matt Rich Image Frolics at Zebulon
Image Frolics article (The Kitchen)
Standing on the Corner Art Ensemble
Hand Habits
Bartees Strange
Ever Present: Dissonant Days
Poussin and the Dance
Meaningless Work, Get to Work
Phoebe Berglund Dance Troupe
Moor Mother
Refuge: Devendra Banhart & Noah Georgeson
Brendan Fernandes: Free Fall for the Camera
Soup & Tart: Broadcast
Ben Kinmont for Active Cultures Digest
Steve Reich’s Drumming
Bridge-s by Solange Knowles
Martin Creed
Ex Hex
Mother Earth's Plantasia
San Cha
Colin Self
Ben Babbitt
Mandy Kahn
Lala Lala
Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs A.S.T.R.A.L.O.R.A.C.L.E.S + Ana Roxanne
Jennifer Moon & laub
Cate Le Bon
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith with Cool Maritime + Emily Sprague
Lonnie Holley
Eyes of Laura Mars & Fashion Films
Combo Chimbita
Friday Flights 2014-2018
No Sesso + Kelsey Lu
Gun Outfit
Tyler Matthew Oyer
Ian Svenonius’ Escape-Ism
Lola Kirke
Dynasty Handbag
Geneva Jacuzzi
Corey Fogel
Elliot Reed
No) One. Art House
Sarah Davachi
Devon Welsh (Majical Cloudz)
Tom Krell | Tram Music
Artists' Books Fest
Peaking Lights Family Band
Allah Las
Midori Takada
Maria Chavez
Helado Negro
See What You Mean: Harry Gamboa Jr.
Savoy Motel
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle
Scott Benzel
Psychic Ills
Steve Gunn
Institute for New Feeling
Molly Surno with Brian Chase
Sun Araw
Reggie Watts
La Luz
Brendan Fernandes
White Fence
Sam Rowell
William Tyler + Noveller
Dungen: The Adventures of Prince Achmed
John Berger's Ways of Seeing: A Live Reading
KCHUNG News Residency
Simone Forti, News Animations
Leonard Cohen, A Celebration
Derek Jarman's Blue
Charles Atlas' The Legend of Leigh Bowery & Teach
Free Cinema
Demdike Stare
Veggie Cloud Film Series
David Horvitz Posters
David Horvitz & Xiu Xiu
Jennifer Juniper Stratford
Laurel Jenkins' B A S E
Jim Drain
M. Geddes Gengras
Burger Records
Kevin Morby
Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs + mecca vazie andrews
Chris Cohen
Moses Sumney
Kianí del Valle
Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler score Le Revelateur & Odilon Redon
Getty Salad Garden
Ed Ruscha's Premium
Harry Gesner in the Getty Salad Garden
Lee Ranaldo
Jessica Pratt
5 Every Day
Lucky Dragons
Yoko Ono Morning Peace
Barbara Kruger 'Tag Wall'
Shannon & the Clams
Total Freedom
Julianna Barwick & Matthew Brandt
Body/Head (Getty)
Daisies & Jennifer West
Mikael Jorgensen & Cassandra C. Jones
No Age
Ooga Booga
William Tyler & Harry Smith
Body/Head (MoMA)
Sofia Coppola & Phoenix
Abstract Currents
David Lamelas & Carlos D'Alessio
The Clock—Silent Disco
Exquisite Corpse & Au Revoir Simone
The Raincoats
Forth Estate & Real Estate
Paper Rad & Cory Arcangel



London Calling: Film Series
September 24, 2016
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

"No film can be too personal. The image speaks. An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude... Implicit in this attitude is a belief in freedom, in the importance of people and in the significance of the everyday." - MANIFESTO FOR A FREE CINEMA, 1956

Free Cinema was a highly influential documentary film movement, born out of a series of screenings held at the London's National Film Theatre in the late 1950s. Its gritty and sharply observant films eschewed traditional tropes of entertainment yet made headlines and attracted sold-out crowds at their screenings. This brief movement would go on to lay the foundations for the "Kitchen Sink" style of realism that defined the British New Wave as it sought to capture the raw truth of everyday life for ordinary Britons. While quotidian in subject matter and devoid of commentary, the films are deftly cut with undercurrents of social critique. Like the painters in the London Calling exhibition who pursued figuration during the height of abstraction, these filmmakers, led by Lindsay Anderson, refused to work within the accepted modes of the film industry and instead aimed to create work "free" from any box office appeal, refocused on the working class, who they felt had been overlooked by the middle-class-dominated British film establishment of the time.

This event is an exact re-creation of the first Free Cinema screening on February 5, 1956. Imagine yourself transported to post-war London where the Evening News reported afterwards that "Every beard and duffle coat in London, every urchin-cut and pair of jeans seemed to converge on the National Film Theatre on South Bank last night. Queues of cinema enthusiasts, even longer than during the Festival of Britain, stood in the drizzle for hours in the hope of seeing three short films [that] in four days have become the talk of the town." It was a night of such success that it would lead to regular Free Cinema screenings for the following five years, featuring contributions from international directors (notably the American documentary On the Bowery), and create a platform for experimental works to flourish widely. These slice-of-life films offer a rich contextualization of the nuances and textures of the everyday society from which the painters of London Calling exhibition emerged, while channeling many of the very same artistic strategies that would remain paramount to them.

(Directed by Lindsay Anderson, 1953, 12 minutes, dvd)

This short film was shot by Lindsay Anderson, Free Cinema's galvanizing figure, a few years before the movement formed. After seeing the other films that would be included in the debut screening, Anderson recognized their artistic affinity. The film is a striking mediation on the attractions of the decaying 'Dreamland' funfair in Margate, and Anderson's camera lurks among the unsuspecting entertainment-seeking, working-class families. Shot in a deliberately harsh fashion, the film lingers on a 'Torture through the Ages' exhibit, bingo, penny arcades, bangers, beans and chips, and nightmarish mechanical puppets, paired with the faces of terrified children. The garish soundtrack is permeated with the recurring laughter of the automated clowns, which takes on a sinister, mocking tone, marking a latent sense of horror within the mundane, inspiring one critic to write, "Everything is ugly... It is almost too much... Pity, sadness, even poetry is infused into this drearily tawdry, aimlessly hungry world."

(Directed by Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz, 1956, 22 minutes, dvd)

Painter Frank Auerbach said "What I wanted to do was to record the life that seemed to me to be passionate and exciting and disappearing all the time." This binding impulse between the artists in the London Calling exhibition and the Free Cinema filmmakers is no better shown than in Momma Don't Allow, which captures one frenzied night in the Wood Green Jazz Club with Chris Barber's Jazz Band and an audience of young men and women. Following a group of "Teddy Boys" and their clashes with other upper-class teens, the film points to the new phenomenon of youth culture, and the subsequent subcultures that flourished in contemporary Britain, where rapidly changing fashions and attitudes became a social language challenging class and taste.

(Directed by Lorenza Mazzetti, Starring Eduardo Paolozzi and Michael Andrews, 1955, 52 minutes, dvd)

A largely overlooked yet extraordinarily layered film, Together started as a fictionalized tale of two deaf-mutes looking for work on the London docks. The roles of these two downtrodden plebeians are in fact performed by two extraordinary visual artists: Pop Art sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, and painter Michael Andrews, a featured artist in the London Calling exhibition. Once the plot was scrapped, Mazzetti reworked the film with Lindsay Anderson, who recognized the high quality of the raw the footage she captured of these men passing through the tragically sublime alleys and crumbling bomb sites of London's East End. Signaling the artist's role as a medium for the translation of culture, Andrews and Paolozzi are our silent guides in this quasi-documentary, where their unmediated encounters with packs of street kids and members of the struggling community shows a city struggling to recover from World War II.