Cecilia Dougherty

WayBay at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive


view of WayBay installation at BAM/PFA museum
Part of the WayBay installation – visitors can take postcards from the packets on the wall and the work is screened in the middle.
postcard from WayBay installation at BAM/PFA
One of the postcards with a video still from my piece GAY TAPE: BUTCH AND FEMME, 1985.

Way Bay
January 17–June 3, 2018

Way Bay is a sweeping exploration of the creative energies that have emerged from the San Francisco Bay Area over the past two centuries. An innovatively organized exhibition of art and film, plus poetry, performance documentation, and archival materials, Way Bay features nearly two hundred works that reveal the depth and diversity of artists’ engagement with the region’s geographic, social, and cultural landscape.

The exhibition takes a nonlinear form and is organized around diverse poetic themes that cut across time periods, media, styles, and artistic cultures, bringing together voices from a wide range of practices and representing diverse communities and sensibilities. Works by artists and filmmakers such as Bruce Baillie, Lutz Bacher, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Enrique Chagoya, Richard Diebenkorn, Ernie Gehr, Saburo Hasegawa, Sargent Johnson, Joanne Leonard, Chiura Obata, Helen Clark Oldfield, Joe Overstreet, Alice Anne Parker Stevenson, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Carlos Villa, Cecilia Dougherty and many others are juxtaposed throughout the exhibition. Many additional works will be on view June 13–September 2.


image for In-Between Theories podcast
In-Between Theories podcast

Just launched Dec 30, 2017
In-Between Theories PODCAST

The first in a series of interviews and discussions with artists commissioned to create web-based work for In-Between Theories, an online artspace by Cecilia Dougherty and David Kalal.


video still from Gone, 2-channel installation by Cecilia Dougherty
Video still from my 2-channel installation GONE (2001) starring the inimitable Laurie Weeks.

Watch my videos on Vimeo, or go to the Videos page on this site

This just out!

The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture
edited by Daniel Banjamin and Eric Sneathen

Published in conjunction with Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today. Two of my films from the writers series, Eileen and Kevin & Cedar, were screened at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco, in October 2017 as part of the conference. This book presents, background, foreground, and everything in between. It’s a beautiful accompaniment to conference events.

The Bigness of Things, book from Wolfman Press
The Bigness of Things, new book from E. M. Wolfman, Oakland CA, 2017

From the Wolfman Press site:

The Bigness of Things surveys the intersection of New Narrative, San Francisco’s queer- and punk-infused writing avant-garde, and visual culture, through photographs and essays on visual art, literary journals, and film.
Essays by Matt Sussman, Brandon Callender, Jamie Townsend, Stephanie Young, Ismail Muhammad, Syd Staiti, Brandon Brown
Art from the Homes of Bruce Boone, Robert Glück, Jocely Saidenberg, Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian
Stills from the Films of Marc Huestis, Abigail Child, Cecilia Dougherty, and Leslie Singer

From the editors’ introduction:

The rich tapestry of film, visual art, and writing that emerged in the San Francisco Bay Area in the period before the destruction wrought by the AIDS epidemic is evidence of the variety of this efflorescence: like New York’s slightly earlier downtown scene, or Paris of the 1920s, San Francisco was fertile ground for many arts flourishing together…

The essays in this volume begin to open up this archive, showing a variety of engagements with the small press publications of this period. We turn to a younger generation of scholars and writers and are invigorated by how these texts resonate in their readings.

This just in!

Writers Who Love Too Much, anthology of short stories
Writers Who Love Too Much, edited by Dodie Bellamy & Kevin Killian, Nightboat Books, NY, 2017

I have a short story called Sue in a Writers Who Love Too Much, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian, from Nightboat Books (2017).

From contributor’s notes, Writers Who Love Too Much 1977-1997:

Dougherty is a filmmaker from Lancaster, Pennsylvania active in the experimental vido scenes in the Bay Area in the late 80s and 90s, and one of the signal artists of the day.  Her first feature, ‘Grapefruit,’ told the story of the Beatles and their breakup, acted by amateurs, many of them artists, almost all of them women. ‘Grapefruit’ (the title of which borrowed from Yoko Ono’s bestselling nightstand book of exercises) established Dougherty as an artist to watch out for, and when she began her next project in San Francisco, she attracted a largely gay cast of artists and writers and scenesters to bring to life some Bermanesque and tormented passages of her own family life in her next feature, ‘Coal Miner’s Granddaughter.’ With ‘Granddaughter’ star, Leslie Singer, she wrote and directed another biopic, the genderqueer ‘Joe-Joe,’ that took up the story of playwright Joe Orton as seen in the film ‘Prick Up Your Ears,’ and reversed everything in it. In this Pixelvision video, there were two Joes, who are lovers, both of them female, and Joe’s agent, Peggy Ramsay (Vanessa Redgrave in the movie) is played by Kevin Killian, as a man. After that Singer shot a lesbian post-punk variant of the 60s chestnut ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ calling it ‘Taking Back the Dolls’ (1994). During the past few decades, Dougherty has continued her work in experimental film and video, including a series of “portraits” of artists and poets in her circle, including Leslie Scalapino, Eileen Myles, Kevin Killian, Laurie Weeks and Cedar Sigo, while forging ahead in her prose writing.”

Thanks a million, Dodie and Kevin! 

Find Writers Who Love Too Much, from Nightboat Books

Or find it on amazon.com

And from Dennis Cooper’s blog, DC, here’s a nice piece about the book – lots of videos, too, including an excerpt of my 1987 video, Claudia:

Please welcome to the world … Dodie Bellamy & Kevin Killian, editors Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997 (Nightboat Books)

My first book, The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change was published in 2013. It’s a series of essays about migration, connectivity, and networks. I write against rulership by corporation and suggest methods for observing the social realm in terms of points of contact rather than steps in a hierarchy of  social, economic and political power. The methods I suggest are based in observation and release from ideology, and can be taken immediately, beginning on the scale of individual responsibility and possibility.

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty
The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty, Atropos Press, 2013

Visit my collaboration with artist-provocateur David Dasharath Kalal called In-Between Theories.

Our first event from this collaboration was a screening and panel discussion at the MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival in Bushwick on Feb 5, 2017.

Our first artist commission is “longcat” by Luba Drozd.
There’s information about the artist here, and our new PODCAST here.


animated gifs for http://www.inbetweentheories.com
  We’re building our argument against over-theorizing the situation with animated gifs, of course! Thanks to Laurie Weeks for being my muse, now and always.
Click image to animate it - no theories here!






Cecilia Dougherty

The image above is a video still of Kevin Killian as Francis Dobkin, from my 1991 pixelvision feature, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter. A million thanks, Kevin. You did an amazing job on this film.

Selected videos

[Click full-page icon on videos to expand]


Joe (2016), portrait of Joe Westmoreland

more portraits of  Writers in this series:

  • Laurie (1998), portrait of Laurie Weeks
  • Leslie (1998), portrait of Leslie Scalapino
  • Eileen (2000), portrait of Eileen Myles
  • Kevin & Cedar (2004), portrait of Kevin Killian and Cedar Sigo

Recent work

In A Station, Petals (2010), silent video for nighttime rear-screen projection onto Valencia Street, made for Right Window Gallery, San Francisco


Occupy Wall Street, Redux (2011), silent video for projection against the wall at the drinks bar at Canada Gallery, New York

more recent work


The Fourth Space (2010), large four channel video projection with soundscape titled Moving Parts created by Aleksei R. Stevens for one-person show at Participant, Inc. Gallery, New York

more installations

Early works

My Failure to Assimilate (1995), winner of Best Documentary at the Turin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

more early works

all works on my Vimeo channel here: https://vimeo.com/ceciliadougherty/channels



Cecilia Dougherty

Photo above was taken at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. We (students and faculty)  were waiting for the shuttle to take us to the College of Staten Island while someone sleeps in the corner of the space. Homeless people often use this small space to rest and to sleep. We ignore them, we just let them be. No one’s responsibility, right? Mostly, we don’t know what to do.

Put An Egg On It magazine
The cover the latest issue of PUT A EGG ON IT

On the Go, a report on what’s available to the itinerant academic at food trucks, pit stops and university cafés in New York.

Put A Egg On It is available here

and my story, embellished with my own photos, is here

Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-200, edited by Steve Anker, Kathy Geritz, and Steve Seid

download a pdf of my chapter in Radical Light,  Ripe Grapefruit: Ten Years of Video Art in San Francisco, 1985-1995

find Radical Light on Amazon

From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture, edited by Sondra Hale and Terry Wolverton

download a pdf of my chapter in From Site to Vision,  Stories From a Generation: Video Art at the Woman’s Building

find From Site to Vision on Amazon








A chapbook essay for my 2010 video installation, The Fourth Space, at Participant Inc., New York, with an additional essay by composer Aleksei R. Stevens, who created a sound art piece, Moving Parts, for the installation

The Fourth Space by Cecilia Dougherty with Moving Parts by
Aleksei R. Stevens

A chapbook essay for my 2009 video installation, The Third Space, at Vox Populi, in Philadelphia

The Third Space

Dog Under Porch

Six-Minute Essays, 2008


Le Tigre

Interview with the JD Samson, Kathleen Hanna, and Johanna Fateman of  Le Tigre, 2004

Cookin’ with Honey: What Literary Lesbians Eat
Amy Scholder, editor

Veg Out, 1996

 fine Cookin’ with Honey: What Literary Lesbians Eat on Amazon

Other articles and interviews




1999Bill T Jones















Cecilia Dougherty

The image above is of a 3-story mural of Biggie Small at 1091 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. This mural is astonishing in its height, boldness, beauty, and in its Bed-Stuy setting. It was going to be painted over but has been saved. A story about it here.

Cecilia Dougherty is an artist and writer based in New York. She has been creating experimental works in video since the 1980s and has published stories, poetry, interviews, art criticism, book reviews and essays from the mid-1980s to the present as well.

She has screened her video work in many venues including the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New Museum, Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum, the New York Film Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Light Industry, Microscope Gallery, Anthology Film Archives, Irish Film Center, Dublin, the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, and at the LUX in London.

Dougherty’s work in moving image extends to animations for iPod and multi-channel video installations. An ongoing project is an online animated GIF collaboration with artist David Dasharath Kalal, called In-Between Theories (at inbetweentheories.com), which examines the speed of individual and group political/social realization and action against the speed of theoretical discourse. The project has a curatorial aspect as well. In-Between Theories has curated a program for the MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival as well as commissioned individual artists to create browser-based works.

Dougherty is also a published author. The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change, her first book, was published in 2013 by Atropos Press. The Irreducible I is based on research into the politics of space and place, specifically as we search for ways to find authentic experiences free from the over-reach of corporate culture and pandemic consumerism.

She currently teaches video production and cinematography in New York.


The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty

The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change by Cecilia Dougherty, Atropos Press, 2013. Now available in KINDLE version as well!

video still, EILEEN, by Cecilia Dougherty
Video still from EILEEN, by Cecilia Dougherty