J. Hoberman at Artforum:
GIVEN THAT JACK SMITH never actually completed another movie after Flaming Creatures (1963), that most of his theater pieces concern the impossibility of their coming into existence, and that many all-but-identical drafts of the same scripts were found among his papers, it’s hardly surprising that he should have been fascinated by the most famously indecisive character in world literature.
Hamlet in the Rented World (A Fragment) is a twenty-seven-minute assemblage put together by Jerry Tartaglia on behalf of the Gladstone Gallery in New York from materials discovered in the Jack Smith Archives, including five quarter-inch audio reels and four rolls of 16-mm film (two of them untouched camera originals), all dating from the early 1970s. Guided by Smith’s scripts, Tartaglia’s reconstruction may be considered the artist’s last, posthumous word. (Hundreds of slides, the material for scores of the slide shows Smith presented during the ’70s and ’80s, remain—but we won’t go there.) Tartaglia, an avant-garde filmmaker whose deep involvement with Smith’s movies began when he discovered Flaming Creatures’ camera original in a laboratory discard bin in 1978 and who has labored over restorations of all Smith’s other film projects, knows this material better than anyone on earth.