Artists: Fascination with Rhythm

In the 1960s, several young artists —most notably Andy Warhol and California's Bruce Conner — have abandoned the paint tube for the film can, leading their fans to hail the underground cinema as the birth of "a new art form." Rebirth would be more like it. The first artists to experiment with film were the Dadaists and surrealists in the 1920s, including Duchamp and Man Ray. The most inventive of the lot was a film maker who, as an artist, is all but unknown in the U.S.

He is Germany's Hans Richter, 79,...