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



Online video premiere of Phoenix's "Chlorophorm"
Directed by Sofia Coppola 
via PopRally at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
November 12, 2013

PopRally Exclusive: Sofia Coppola on Directing Phoenix’s “Chloroform” Video
Posted on MoMA’s INSIDE/OUT blog by Ashley Young, PopRally Sarah Cooper, PopRally

Still from the “Chloroform” video. 2013. USA. Directed by Sofia Coppola

As members of MoMA’s PopRally committee, our goal is to provide our audience with a dynamic program of unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that engage with our exhibitions and collection. So when we received word that Sofia Coppola—who is herself represented in MoMA’s film collection—had directed a new video for Phoenix’s song “Chloroform,” we jumped at the opportunity to present the exclusive premiere. To mark the occasion, Anne Morra, Associate Curator in the Department of Film and a great supporter of Coppola’s work, spoke with the director about the inspiration for the piece, how it fits in with the rest of her work, and her relationship with Phoenix’s music.

Anne Morra: Your brother Roman has directed a number of music videos for Phoenix, for which your husband Thomas Mars is the lead singer. Why are you now directing the video for the new song “Chloroform”?

Sofia Coppola: I’ve always loved Phoenix, and the videos Roman did for them. I love the song “Chloroform,” and I had an idea based on a photo, and since I haven’t done many videos, I like trying things that are unfamiliar. The idea came from a photo by Joseph Sterling in his book The Age of Adolescence. Thomas’s sister’s boyfriend, Mateo, who works at the Book Marc store, gave me the book last X-mas.

Photo from The Age Of Adolescence: Joseph Sterling Photographs 1959–1964, by David Travis. Greybull Press, 2005

AM: What was your process for shooting, and is there any significance in the venue?

SC: We just had a day to shoot, no significance for venue. We wanted it to look beautiful and classic while shooting on digital because of the low budget. It was the first time I worked with the [director of photography] Darren Lew, so we were figuring out how to work together as we shot.

AM: Visually, [it] seems less like a traditional video and more like a film. The band is quickly seen at the very start, but in shadow and silhouette. The line-up of beautiful and emotional young women flanking the stage is featured more prominently than the band. Why is that? Is there a narrative you would like to share with us?

SC: I wanted to show they were at a Phoenix concert, but keep them afar and mysterious, and have the focus be on the girls. I wanted the video to be about the girls losing it over the band, and that feeling you have when you think a band is romantic.

AM: One of the recurring themes in you work is the concept of celebrity. You are the child of a celebrity and one in your own right, and you married a prominent musician. In your film Somewhere, Johnny is taking a break from his celebrity driven life, while in The Bling Ring, the protagonists are drawn like moths to the shining flame of celebrity. In [the video] there is a definite sign that Thomas is the “celebrity” as you photograph him looking down on the audience. Was exploring the theme of celebrity part of your plan for this short?

SC: I didn’t think about that, I can see it when you say that, but didn’t have a connection in mind. I have always been interested in how people act around celebrity, since I saw it from an early age, and I did like having Thomas from a distance, and playing up the romantic rock star. I always like the idea of longing.

Still from the “Chloroform” video. 2013. USA. Directed by Sofia Coppola

AM: In your films, you conjure complex worlds that young women inhabit and must learn how to navigate for themselves. What was your inspiration for depicting the young women in this short, who make up 100% of the audience? There are no men depicted other than the band.

SC: I wanted it to be a fantasy of young girls fixated on a band they love, and try to capture that feeling I remember of seeing bands when I was a kid, when you could totally lose it…and to play up the band as close but out of reach. It’s a fantasy audience, all young, pretty girls.

AM: The lyrics to “Chloroform” are enigmatic and beguiling. Sort of a love song, but there is also mention of deception and love being cruel. Is this a love song? Are the crying girls reacting to the message of the song? Are they reacting to the proximity of the band? Or, are they experiencing some sort of internal conflict separate from the song or the performance by the band?

SC: I like that there is some teasing in the song, and the girls are eating it up.

AM: You rarely shoot without color. When I think of a Sofia Coppola film, I recall the lushness of greens in Somewhere, the neon pop of colors in Lost in Translation and the bubblegum, confectionary colors in Marie Antoinette. What made you decide to not to include color in this short? It reminds me of your directorial debut with the short Lick the Star (1998).

SC: I was in the mood to shoot in black and white, and probably because idea came from that photo.

Still from the “Chloroform” video. 2013. USA. Directed by Sofia Coppola

AM: Phoenix was featured in both Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring. Do you feel like there is an inherent aesthetic connection between your filmic work and their music?

SC: They’ve had music in all of my films. I met Thomas when he did the song “Playground Love” with Air for the end titles of my first film, The Virgin Suicides. Then, I wanted to use their song “Too Young” in Lost in Translation, when Bill and Scarlett’s characters are dancing at a party and it captures the feeling of that moment. And now I feel like I like to always have a Phoenix song, maybe for good luck.