Center for Visual Music



Jordan Belson (1926-2011)

Official Site

Contains News, Bibliography, Biographies, Filmography, Film Notes and more

Biographies: Keefer 2008 and Moritz 1997

Retrospective Program and Tour

Online excerpts of selected films, streaming through Vimeo

DVD information - Belson films on two DVDs from CVM (squarespace shop)

NOTE: Bibliography includes some Vortex resources

Image above (c) Center for Visual Music


‘Jordan Belson is one of the greatest artists of visual music. Belson creates lush vibrant experiences of exquisite color and dynamic abstract phenomena evoking sacred celestial experiences.’ - Film historian William Moritz




DVD : A compilation DVD from CVM (2017) includes three rare Belson films: Mandala, Chakra and Meditation. Trailer for Mandala. Full info - ORDER HERE
Still available, Jordan Belson: 5 Essential Films DVD at our Squarespace shop



CVM's virtual Visual Music Master classes and Seminars repeat early 2024, next is "Jordan Belson, Vortex Concerts and the Origins of Expanded Cinema." Learn the real story of the legendary 1950s Vortex Concerts (most of what's online is incorrect), their impact on Belson's work, and explore key moments in the beginnings of Expanded Cinema from the 1920s-60s. Five weekly zoom sessions with illustrated talks, films, rare material from CVM's archive and discussions. Host is curator/film historian Cindy Keefer, who worked with Belson, published extensively on Vortex, restored many of Belson's films while working with him, and produced his last film Epilogue plus DVD and VHS releases. Ms. Keefer interviewed Belson extensively during her years working with him, for her planned Vortex book and other projects. First held summer 2023. $200 fee (total for 5 sessions), limited enrollment. Currently session began Feb 22, Thursdays 11am PST, February 22, 29. March 7, 14, 21. Inquire for details to enroll when this is offered again, Summer 2024.

Our seminar "Oskar Fischinger and Visual Music" repeats later this Spring, inquire re enrollment details.

CVM continues to honor Jordan's wishes by screening his films with his original soundtracks. He denied all requests to change his music or soundtracks as long as we worked with him, over many years until his death, and was quite opposed to this idea. He was upset when shown examples of others online who added their new music to his films. We also honor his long time wishes to not screen a few of his films publicly, including Raga and Cosmos, and not to place full films online.

Several shots from his films appear in the current Netflix series, Encounters (see Episode 3), about extraterrestrial encounters. We licensed a few shots from restored material.

CVM is currently restoring and digitizing several Belson films, including Re-entry and Phenomena. We have recently restored and reformatted his Mysterious Journey (1999), excerpt on our Belson Vimeo channel


2023 -  screenings and museum exhibitions

Seance screened July 7, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A three night series, "Short Films for Short Nights."

Samadhi screened in Spain on June 17, at Vilaseco, Chantada Lugo. Music of the Spheres screened in April (restored by CVM).

Samadhi screened at Postdam Filmmuseum in Germany in April (also with a restored John Cage film from CVM).

Upcoming screenings are updated often at CVM's Screening & Events page.

2022 -  screenings and museum exhibitions

Chakra was included in a group show Systems of Belief at Halle für Kunst, Graz, Austria. September 24 through December 18. Image above courtesy Halle für Kunst.

Allures  was installed in a group show Salon Solaire at Gallery, Zurich, June-July.  

Allures (16mm preservation print) and Mandala screened at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, in CVM's new Color Rhythms program. November.

Mandala screened at the Hiroshima Animation Festival, in a special Visual Music screening, August (along with a Fischinger film from CVM).

Mandala screened at ACMI, Melbourne, in CVM's Oskar's Legacy: Filmmakers Influenced by Fischinger program, July 5. Details.

2021 - recent screenings

Allures and Mandala screened at the Tokyo Museum of Photographic Art, Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions, in a new program from CVM: Oskar Fischinger, early Motion Graphics and Visual Music. 3 screenings in February.


2020 museum exhibitions with films

Several films including Fountain of Dreams (film still below) and Allures were included in a group exhibition, Soundmuseum at Daelim's D Museum, Seoul. May-December, 2020. Part of a special CVM Visual Music exhibition with 11 films, including films by Fischinger and Bute.

Fall - Music of the Spheres was on view in The Botanical Mind exhibition, at Camden Arts Centre, London. An accompanying online exhibition is here.. See the As Within section.



2020 - screenings

October - Mandala screened at ANIFILM, Czech Republic, in a new compilation program from CVM, Oskar's Legacy.

January - Allures and Momentum, 16mm restored prints from CVM, screened at Museum of the Moving Image, New York



December - 2 Belson films from CVM, including a 16mm preservation print of Allures plus Samadhi (digital), screened at Spoutnik Cinema, Geneva. Accompanying the exhibition "By repetition" at Bâtiment d’art contemporain.

May - 4 Belson films from CVM, including 3 restored 16mm prints, screened at Light Industry, Brooklyn, NY.


October - one film screened at Castle di Rocco Sinibalda, a medieval castle near Rome, in two CVM Visual Music programs.

October - Bop Scotch screened at Sonoma Film Institute (California) in CVM's program Music for the Eyes: Visual Music Films from CVM:

August - Several Belson films (Allures, Mandala) screened in programs at CVM's summer Visual Music Symposium in Sonoma County, CA

May - Allures screened in Visual Music Films from the CVM Archive program at ArtsBlock, UCR, Riverside, CA



CVM released a compilation DVD with 3 rare Belson films, Chakra, Mandala and Meditation, Visual Music 1947-86 from CVM Archive. Order here: CVM shop

Belson Retrospective program screened in Berkeley (BAM, Feb 7), London (BFI Southbank, Feb 28) and Centre Pompidou, Paris March 3 (see CVM Screenings page for details).

February - May, 2017 - Allures was part of the Hippie Modernism exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum. Digital, looped in a small room downstairs with other films.


September - December, 2016 - Belson's Samadhi plus some artwork were a part of the São Paulo Bienal, Brazil.

November - several Belson films screened in a CVM salon in Los Angeles, also at other CVM Salons at Horse Hospital, London and Oxford University.

October - three Belson films screened at Whitney Museum, NY, in the screening series accompanying Dreamlands exhibition

October - Samadhi screened in the BFI's London Film Festival

April 30 - July - Bop Scotch screened in the Syncopated Cinema series at the new Len Lye Centre, New Zealand, various dates

May 9 - Music of the Spheres (original long version), Chakra and LSD, in new preserved 16mm prints, screened at the International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, Germany (with Fischinger, Cage and other films) in the Archives section, a Center for Visual Music presentation.

Belson films (digital,installations) were featured in two recent museum exhibitions, Allures (new HD transfer) in Hippie Modernism at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Samadhi in Cosa Mentale at Centre Pompidou Metz (closed March 2016). Both opened October 2015, see our Belson distribution page. The Jordan Belson Retrospective Film Program also screened at Walker on October 24. Hippie Modernism will travel to Berkeley Art Museum in February 2017.

Four of Belson's pastels were in an exhibition in New York at 80WSE Gallery, in Language of the Birds: Occult and Art, through February 13, 2016.

February 5 - Re-Entry (video) screened at Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, in a program curated by Sheldon Renan

More screenings and exhibitions below.


CVM received a grant to preserve Mandala. Thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation.



vortex poster

CVM is pleased to announce an original advertising poster from Vortex V (1959) has been donated to CVM for fundraising purposes. We thank the Estate of Jordan Belson for this generous donation. Proceeds will benefit the Belson preservation and digitization project at CVM. A rare original advertising poster (1959) from Jordan Belson and Henry Jacobs' experimental concert series at Morrison Planetarium, San Francisco. 11 x 28 inches, on posterboard heavy stock. Light wear left side, some light staining upper left. An extremely rare item from the legendary events. Vortex original items rarely enter the market. Inquire.




New HD transfers and preservation projects are underway; please consider helping to digitize Belson's work. Donate via paypal to cvmarchive (at) Donations from this project have helped us transfer films and put a few clips online on our vimeo channel (thanks to previous donors, see below for names).



Many more films need preservation and digitization (examples above and at top of page, from just a few films needing digitization), please Donate via paypal (all amounts help), call us with your credit card #, or contact us if you'd like to sponsor a film or help us put more clips online. It is very difficult now to obtain grants to assist with digitizing the 16mm originals, particularly the experiments and unreleased films.

CVM gratefully thanks those who have contributed to the digitization and preservation project for Belson's films: Scott Snibbe, Scott and Isabel Draves (plus a matching gift from Google), Stephen Fisher, Michael Robinson (PA), Suzanne Perkins & Bertram Gordon, Mark Lamb, Marcos Ortega Miranda, John Teton, Stephen Fisher, David McConville, Stephen Beck, Stuart Heaney, Joshua Seaver. All amounts are helpful.

Donate via paypal to cvmarchive (at) gmail (dot) com


Screenings, 2015

CVM's Retrospective film program at Walker Art Center, October

Chakra and Allures in a program at Barbican Centre, London, curated by CVM director Cindy Keefer for Barbican

Allures in "The Real Zone :: cinema in cybernetic space" screening at CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania


Recent screenings, 2014

The never-released film LSD (c. 1962) screened at MoMA New York in November 2014, as part of their annual Festival of Preservation. Presented by CVM with several other films from CVM's archive (Oskar Fischinger, John Cage).

Belson films from CVM screen in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Film Festivals in August; and at BFI Southbank, London in November in Jet-Propelled Cinema: How Psychedelia Infected Hollywood Sci-Fi



CVM's new program of New Restorations and Discoveries (includes LSD, a presentation reel from Vortex V, and the unfinished Quartet, c. 1983 ) recently screened at Bard College, New York, with newly restored 16mm prints. Image above, still from Quartet. This program previously screened at Hammer Museum/UCLA and Tate Modern in 2013.


2013 News

Installation view, Séance at Raven Row, (c) CVM

EXHIBITION: Three films by Belson (Séance, World and Chakra) were in Reflections from Damaged Life: an exhibition on Psychedelia exhibition at Raven Row, London, curated by Lars Bang Larsen. September-December. Extensive reviews in artforum, Frieze, CLOSE-UP, more. (NOTE: CLOSE-UP contains some errata on Vortex)

Three September Belson events in the UK! Tate Modern, Arnolfini Centre and Raven Row. See CVM's Events page and the Belson Retrospective page, At Tate Modern, the Premiere of new preservation prints of LSD and a Vortex V presentation reel (1959). Program also included the unfinished Quartet (c. 1983). This new program from CVM also screened in December at UCLA Film and Television Archive's Billy Wilder Theatre, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

New HD transfers and preservation projects underway; new 16mm preserved print of LSD

Spring, 2013: Re-entry installed in group exhibition at HKW, Berlin


2012 News

Fall 2012 dates for screenings of the Retrospective program in New York, Boston, Toronto and other cities, details here.

October - CVM screened "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" at the Whitney Museum, New York.

April - Mandala and Caravan screened at LA County Museum of Art in CVM's new program "Color and Form: California Modernist Animation and Abstraction"

CVM received a preservation grant for the film LSD, and several reels of Belson's experiments, some from the Vortex Concerts c. 1959.

JANUARY: Belson's film Allures (1961) was been added to the National Film Registry List (Library of Congress), for films deemed to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.

2011 Screenings and News

May - CVM screened "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" at Tate Modern, London and also at EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam. It screened in March at LA County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.

RIP Filmmaker/artist Jordan Belson died peacefully early Tuesday morning, September 6, 2011 at his home in San Francisco, of heart failure. He was 85. In lieu of flowers, Belson's long-time partner Catherine Heinrich requested that donations be made to Center for Visual Music's preservation and digitization work to continue preserving the legacy of Jordan Belson. A Memorial screening occured October 19 at Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, of CVM's Program Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane, which included an unreleased film by Belson called Quartet.


Before his death, Belson signed a statement asking people not to put his films online, as it does not do justice to his work. He was quite concerned with proper display conditions, in dark environments. However, we have permission to put a few short high resolution excerpts online - we're raising money now to transfer and digitize from the originals and new preservation negatives. Help us put more high quality clips online from other films. Contact cvmarchive (at) gmail (dot) com, or Donate via paypal to cvmarchive (at) gmail (dot) com. Our address is at bottom of page.

Jordan Belson, Experimental Filmmaker, Dies at 85. New York Times obit by Margalit Fox, Movies section, Sept 10.

Please see the Belson bios below. We've posted obits and news items on his death, at the bottom of the Belson Bibliography page.

Gene Youngblood published a very short remembrance of Belson in Millenium Film Journal.


2010 Exhibitions and Screenings

October - a sold out screening of our Retrospective "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

April - screening of our Retrospective "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" at Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.

February - Mandala included in a 3 part series at SFMoMA, curated by Scott MacDonald.

2009 Exhibitions and Screenings

Guggenheim Museum, New York. A special film series curated by Cindy Keefer, from October 2009 to February 2010, "Non-Objective Films, 1920s-50s" included a Belson film. Selected Fridays, 16mm prints, in the Education Department screening room. This program also screened at the Guggenheim's Kandinsky symposium in January.

See This Sound: Promises in Sound and Vision, Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz. Belson's Samadhi was installed in a black box room throughout the exhibition, August 2009 - January 2010. Ms. Keefer also gave an accompanying talk on Belson, Vortex Concerts and early Expanded Cinema experiments.

April - "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" screened at the European Media Art Festival, Osnabruck, Germany.

April - Tate Modern's Expanded Cinema Symposium, London. Ms. Keefer, CVM's director, presented "Raumlichtkunst to Vortex: Early Expanded Cinema Experiments of Oskar Fischinger and Jordan Belson (1926-1959), plus a separate film program including some Belson films.

Guggenheim Museum, New York. "The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989" group exhibition included Belson's Samadhi. January-April.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. "Abstract Cinema and Technology" group exhibition included Belson's Allures. March-May.

2008 Exhibitions and Screenings

Cornell Cinema, Ithaca, NY. "Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane" Retrospective screened, along with 4 other programs from CVM (Fischinger, Bute, Essential Visual Music and more)

MORE TO BE ADDED SOON including earlier years



Jordan Belson: 5 Essential Films DVD (2007)


Allures (1961), Samadhi (1967), Light (1973), Fountain of Dreams (1984), and Epilogue (2005)

About the Films on the DVD




Stills from Allures, Samadhi, Epilogue (c) Jordan Belson

DVD, NTSC, Region-free
Color, Sound, 4 x 3

Order here: CVM shop

Curated by Jordan Belson. Produced by Center for Visual Music

Also at our shop, see another compilation DVD with 3 rare Belson films (Chakra, Mandala and Meditation), Visual Music 1947-86 from CVM Archive





Center for Visual Music
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Contact us: cvmaccess (at) gmail (dot) com


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