Wow. The phantom filmmaker of San Francisco. Living all these years in North 
Beach, interacting with very few. A mystery. I always hoped he would make an 
unannounced appearance...

--- On Wed, 9/7/11, C Keefer <> wrote:

From: C Keefer <>
Subject: [Frameworks] R.I.P. Jordan Belson (1926-2011)
Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 11:53 AM

We are sad to report that filmmaker/artist Jordan Belson died early Tuesday 
morning, September 6, at his home in San Francisco, of heart failure. He was 
85. A memorial screening is planned for the near future in the San Francisco 
Bay Area, plus tribute screenings in several other cities. Details will follow 

Jordan Belson created abstract films richly woven with cosmological imagery, 
exploring consciousness, transcendence, and the nature of light itself.

Born in Chicago in 1926, Belson studied painting at the California School of 
Fine Art (now San Francisco Art Institute), and received his B.A., Fine Arts 
(1946) from The University of California, Berkeley. He saw films by Oskar 
Fischinger, Norman McLaren and Hans Richter at the historic Art in Cinema 
screening series in San Francisco in the late 1940s. Belson was inspired to 
make films with scroll paintings and traditional animation techniques, calling 
his first films "cinematic paintings."

Curator Hilla Rebay at The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, New York, 
exhibited his paintings, and upon Fischinger's recommendation awarded Belson 
several grants. From 1957-1959, Belson was Visual Director for The Vortex 
Concerts at San Francisco's Morrison Planetarium, a series of electronic music 
concerts accompanied by visual projections. Composer Henry Jacobs curated the 
music while Belson created visual illusions with multiple projection devices, 
combining planetarium effects with patterns and abstract film footage. His 
Vortex work inspired his abandoning traditional animation methods to work with 
real time projected light. He completed Allures (1961), Re-entry (1964), 
Phenomena (1965), Samadhi (1967), and continued with a series of abstract 
films. His varied influences include yoga, Eastern philosophies and mysticism, 
astronomy, Romantic classical music, alchemy, Jung, non-objective art, mandalas 
and many more.

Belson produced an extraordinary body of over 30 abstract films, sometimes 
called "cosmic cinema."  He produced ethereal special effects for the film The 
Right Stuff (1983). His last completed film was Epilogue (2005), commissioned 
by The Hirshhorn Museum. He is survived by his long time partner, Catherine 
Heinrich. (Revised bio by C. Keefer, for Guggenheim Museum's "The Third Mind" 
catalog, 2008.)

More information about Belson and his work can be found on his approved 
research pages, at

Earlier in 2011, Belson wrote a statement asking people not to put his films 
online, as it did not do justice to his work.

In lieu of flowers, Belson's partner Ms. Heinrich requests that donations be 
made to Center for Visual Music's preservation and digitization work to 
continue preserving the legacy of Jordan Belson. Contact cvmarchive (at)

posted by:
Cindy Keefer
Center for Visual Music
Los Angeles, CA
cvmaccess (at)

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