Amanda Sharp on Steve McQueen

 ‘He is ruthless in pursuit of his vision as any great director must be; his powerful images are indelible’

Steve McQueen, Five Easy Pieces, 1995. Video still. Courtesy the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery

If my friend Matthew Slotover hadn’t convinced me it was necessary for us to start frieze magazine, my life would have been in film. Films gave me a home, whatever else happened in my life; they were a safe haven. Many filmmakers have illuminated and inspired me: from Preston Sturges to Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Claire Denis, Kathryn Bigelow, Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray and Yasujiro Ozu, the list is varied and rich – but it is Steve McQueen who made me a fan. I can’t wait to see the films he will make in the coming years. The musicals, Westerns, comedies, romances, science-fiction, mysteries and political satires that will surely follow Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Widows (2018). He loves and understands cinema from the inside out. How it smells, its possibilities. How to structure the beats. He is ruthless in pursuit of his vision as any great director must be; his powerful images are indelible. He is competitive with every filmmaker and film that has ever been made and his ambition is boundless. So, thank you Christian Haye for the introduction to his work. We put Steve on the cover of issue 28, when he had just completed Stage (1996), after Bear (1993) and Five Easy Pieces (1995) but before Deadpan (1997). We were early and you were right: he is a great artist and a decent man. A visionary. 

Amanda Sharp is co-founder of frieze.

Issue 200

First published in Issue 200

January - February 2019

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