‘Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray’ and ‘Talking Pictures’: Film Screening & Q&A with Bob Holman and Kristi Zea

Please note this event will take place off-site at JW3 (opposite Camden Arts Centre). 


Camden Arts Centre is pleased to present the UK Premier of Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray, an intimate portrait of the ground-breaking artist Elizabeth Murray. The film explores the relationship between Murray’s family life and career and reconsiders her place in contemporary art history. Verité footage, home videos and excerpts from her journals, voiced by Meryl Streep, tell of Murray’s internal struggles and incredible ambition. Exclusive interviews with art world luminaries provide the historical backdrop for the New York art scene.


Elizabeth Murray moved to New York City in 1967. In 2005, almost forty years later, Murray was the fifth woman to be celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray traces Murray’s life, from years as a struggling single mother to having a bustling, growing family and thriving career. From her early 1960’s “funk-inflected pop” to her painterly minimalism in the 70’s, and on to her dynamic fractured canvases of the 1990s and 2000s, Murray worked without hesitation through – and often despite – market trends, historical movements and her failing health.

Murray’s paintings defy efforts at categorisation. She broke convention, and made an indelible imprint on contemporary art. This film chronicles her remarkable journey from an impoverished childhood to artistic maverick, before she lost her life to cancer in 2007. Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray cements Murray’s legacy as one of the great painters of our time.

Accompanying this illuminating documentary will be a short film entitled Talking Pictures, which bridges the relationship between poetry and painting, and asks the question If paintings could talk, would they speak poetry? That’s the question answered by this short study, a love poem in film. Directed by Oscar and Critics Choice nominee Kristi Zea (Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray; Notes from the Field) with music by Oscar nominee, David Lang, and edited/arranged by Charles Caster-Dudzick, poet performer extraordinaire Bob Holman, founder of the legendary Bowery Poetry Club, is inspired by an exhibition of the supremely individualistic, off-the-wall paintings of his late wife, Elizabeth Murray. The result is a film like no other.  As Holman’s poetry beckons the paintings off the screen, the twenty-five-year marriage of these two artists comes to life, filled with joy, children, sadness and the indefinable, a place where art is the spark for lives lived to their fullest. “…and she was talking, and he was talking and talking was talking/ and then they realised they were kissing/just in time.”



Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray is co-production of Ruby Red Productions and the Human Arts Association.

Talking Pictures is produced by Bowery Art + Sciences.


Elizabeth Murray (b. 1940, Chicago; d. 2007, Washington County, New York) earned a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (1962) and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland (1964). Her work is held in over sixty public collections in the United States and has been the subject of over eighty solo exhibitions worldwide. Her retrospective, Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings, jointly organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Centre, MIT, Cambridge, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened in 1987, and travelled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Des Moines Art Centre; and the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, closing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1988. In 2005, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a retrospective that travelled to Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain. Her work was featured at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007.

Murray was the recipient of numerous academic and institutional honours, including an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (1984), to which she was elected as a member in 1992. She was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting, New York (1986), and was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1999).

Bob Holman is founder of the Bowery Poetry Club and the author of 17 poetry collections (print/audio/video), most recently The Cutouts (Matisse) (PeKaBoo Press) and Sing This One Back To Me (Coffee House Press), Bob Holman has taught at Princeton, Columbia, NYU, Bard, and The New School. As the original Slam Master and a director at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, creator of the world’s first spoken word poetry record label, Mouth Almighty/Mercury, and the Artistic Director of the Bowery Poetry Club, Holman has played a central role in the spoken word, slam and digital poetry movements of the last several decades, work that continues with the founding of Bowery Poetry Studios, where he hosts the poetry podcast Mouth Almighty. A co-founder and co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, Holman’s study of hip-hop and West African oral traditions led to his current work with endangered languages. He is the producer/director/host of various films, including The United States of Poetry and On the Road with Bob Holman. His film, Language Matters with Bob Holman, winner of the Berkeley Film Festival’s Documentary of the Year award, was produced by David Grubin and aired nationally on PBS. Holman travelled for the film and led workshops at language revitalisation centres across Alaska and Hawaii, sponsored by the Ford Foundation. His short film, Khonsay: Poem of Many Tongues, has lines of poetry in 50 languages, and premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. In 2018, Holman was awarded the Chambra d’Oc Premio Ostana Award for his work in language revitalisation. His roots are in Harlan, KY, and he currently lives on the Bowery in New York City.

Kristi Zea has been in the contemporary film scene for over three decades and is acclaimed for her work as a Production Designer, Costume Designer and Producer of major feature films of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. She production designed Martin Scorsese’s films New York Stories (1989), Goodfellas (Academy Award Winner 1990),  and The Departed  (Academy Award Winner 2006); Jonathan Demme’s films Married to the Mob (1988), Beloved (1998), Silence of the Lambs (Academy Award Winner 1991) Philadelphia  (Academy Award Winner 1993),  Manchurian Candidate (2004) and Barry Levinson’s Sleepers (1996). Zea also production designed Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon (2002); and Roger Michelle’s Changing Lanes (2002); as well as Neil Jordan’s The Brave One (2007); Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road (2008) for which Zea was nominated for an Oscar ; Nancy Meyer’s The Intern (2015); NBC’s American Odyssey (2015), and The Comedian (2016) starring Robert DeNiro. Additional credits include costume designer for Alan Parker’s Fame (1980), Shoot the Moon (1982), and Birdy (1984) as well as James L. Brooks’Terms of Endearment (1983) and Larry Kasdan’s Silverado  (1985). Zea assoc. produced James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News (1987) and produced Oscar nominee As Good As It Gets (1997).  She also produced and designed the independent film The Joneses (2009) starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. Zea’s most recent credits include: NBC’s series New Amsterdam (2018) which she designed and directed one episode. Zea also directed HBO’s Critic’s Choice nominee Notes from the Field starring Anna Deavere Smith (2018). She produced and directed the documentary Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray which will have it’s UK premiere on September 8th along with Talking Pictures starring Bob Holman.