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Butcher's Shop

At the Venice Film Festival, The Butcher's Shop was awarded “Il Premio Open,” a prize for new works that bridge film and art. It was part of the exhibition of Philip Haas's film installations at the Kimbell Art Museum, Butchers, Dragons, Gods & Skeletons, which was listed by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best U.S. museum exhibitions of the year.

On two large screens facing each other on opposing walls of the gallery, a narrative unfolds inside a butcher’s shop in Bologna, Italy, circa 1582. The film was photographed in a studio set recreating the space depicted in Annibale Carracci’s late sixteenth century painting, The Butcher's Shop, which hangs in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The images on one screen represent the scene shown in the painting: two butchers working amid wooden trellises with iron spikes and hooks from which animal carcasses hang, a large wooden table containing various cuts of meat, a massive chopping block with a pair of sheep’s hooves and axe, an earthen floor featuring additional animal carcasses and severed animal heads, etc. The images on the other screen represent the opposite side of the shop, a view not shown in the painting, where Annibale Carracci has set up an easel to paint a tableau canvas of the two butchers at work. The film is a meditation on Carracci's painting, work and life, and on the depiction of meat and human flesh in art from Carracci to Rembrandt to Francis Bacon. 

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