Way Bay 2! Creative energies emergent from the Bay Area

At the Berkeley Art Museum PFA
June 13–September 2, 2018

My two videos that were part of the first iteration of this giant exhibition about Bay Area artists – Gay Tape: Butch and Femme and Leslie (about the writer Leslie Scalapino) are also in the second part of the exhibition.

postcard of video still from Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty
Postcard from my 1985 videotape called “Gay Tape: Butch and Femme” produced by the Way Bay exhibition team

From the Way Bay 2 website: The second iteration of an innovatively organized exhibition of art, film, performance, poetry, and archival materials, Way Bay 2 continues our wide-ranging exploration of the creative energies that have emerged from the San Francisco Bay Area over two centuries. The exhibition features almost two hundred works by Bay Area artists and others whose work engages directly with the region’s geographic and cultural landscape. Dozens of works not seen in the first iteration of the exhibition are on view, including pieces by Rosie Lee Tompkins, Jay DeFeo, Larry Sultan, Frank Moore, Sadie Barnette, Ajit Chauhan, Nicole Phungrasamee Fein, Conrad Ruiz, Michelle Vignes, and Lewis Watts as well as films by Jordan Belson, Lawrence Jordan, Lynne Sachs, and Chick Strand.

Ranging in historical scope from the early nineteenth century to the present, the exhibition explores the enduring themes and powerful artistic voices that have emerged from the Bay Area across times and cultures, highlighting transhistorical affinities among the many artists, filmmakers, authors, and other creative practitioners who have drawn inspiration from the region’s distinctive character. Rather than a conventional historical survey, Way Bay 2 is an open-ended and provocative attempt to reveal hidden currents and connections among works from disparate times, cultures, and communities.

Continuous film screenings in the galleries showcase the Bay Area’s rich history as an incubator for avant-garde and experimental cinema, beginning with a silent film that captures life on the streets of San Francisco just days before the 1906 earthquake destroyed much of the city. The exhibition also includes highlights from BAMPFA’s extensive archive of video and audio recordings of Bay Area artists.

A section of the exhibition is devoted to poetry by Bay Area writers, presented through an original, interactive postcard project. A series of performances and other programs, including readings by local poets and participatory workshops in the museum’s Art Lab, complements the exhibition.

In addition to works from BAMPFA’s collection, including a number of recent acquisitions on display for the first time, Way Bay 2 includes exceptional paintings, prints, photographs, and other works from UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library and Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

 

Desire as Politics at the Valade Family Gallery in Detroit, Feb-Mar 2018

Exhibition of LGBT Media in Detroit

Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985) screened recently at the Valade Family Gallery in Detroit. Many thanks to curators Scott Northrup and Jonathan Rajewsky!

Desire as Politics, gallery installation, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit Feb-Mar 2018
Desire as Politics, gallery installation, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit Feb-Mar 2018

Work by:
Sadie Benning
Cecilia Dougherty
Matt Lambert
Zachary Marsack
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
Rashaad Newsome
Ira Sachs
Akram Zaatari

Desire as Politics presents a selection of LGBTQ perspectives in contemporary film and video from 1985 to 2017. The exhibition is not meant to summarize this arbitrary span of time, but rather to look at works exploring a range of identities, social constraints and prejudices unique to LGBTQ positions, including representation, fantasy, fear, love and the blurring of binaries, positions that we feel are vital in our current climate.

Scott Northrup & Jonathan Rajewski

video still, gallery installation, Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty, 1985
Larger than life, a mural-sized installation for my video Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985)

From the exhibition catalogue:

Dougherty’s first video, made while she was studying at Berkely:
“I made it just around the time when the term ‘gay’ was for everyone and then ‘lesbian and gay’ become the new term, until we progressed to ‘LGBTQ’.

“Gay Tape is a documentary about some of the regulars at Ollie’s Bar, a lesbian dive on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. The 1970s sartorial statement of flannel shirts, 501s, and Frye boots was passé and at odds with the new eighties aesthetic—tons of makeup, big hair, and complicated lingerie. Along with the new aesthetic came the reemergence of good old fashioned butch-femme role-playing. While the femmes pranced around like Stevie Nicks, their butch girlfriends reverted to an earlier role model, acting out fifties and sixties-style tough girl with brilliant aplomb. I asked some of the women from Ollie’s to talk on camera about role-playing.

“The camera instantly gave me too much control over content, so I tried to balance it by providing a platform for the women to speak on the butch-femme issue without overtly directing them. I relinquished authorship in favor of revelation and avoided coming to conclusions; the speakers were experts as well as subjects and could say whatever occurred to them. They spoke extemporaneously about their lovers, the details of their sexual identities, and their fantasies. My girlfriend at the time was one of the subjects. As her story unfolded I realized from my privileged position behind the lens that the lover she was describing in detail was not me. So much for the power of the gaze!

At a recent screening, the audience was interested in the difference between butch and transgendered, maybe not understanding that there were trans people in the community in 1985. I think there’s a distinction and as always, the people making the distinction are self-identified.”


Just launched: ‘longcat’ by Luba Drozd on In-Between Theories

 Dec 30 2017

In-BetweenTheories is the online artspace of Cecilia Dougherty and David Kalal. We are pleased to welcome Luba Drozd to with a new digital artwork commissioned for the project’s website. Inspired by the longcat meme that flourished in online forums and discussion boards of the early 2000s, LONGCAT repurposes the very body of that meme and infuses it with political content. Drozd makes visible in LONGCAT the current deeply divisive moment in American politics with all of its strategies of avoidance, overkill and misinformation. Riffing on the how digital debris of online eras just recently past continue to echo and be re-purposed, LONGCAT looks at how the virtual becomes tangible and the tangible then shapes our lived realities.
 
Discussing the genesis of the project she says, “Somebody … would post a longcat and you would have to scroll and scroll and scroll through it just so you could give them an answer. So, it’s basically something that precludes the debate and dialogue as “won.” Just because you’ve posted the longcat that’s it
– the debate is over – you won. Even though it’s completely illogical and non- negotiable. So, I was thinking about these devices … in the beginning of the Trump presidency. [KellyAnne Conway] uses a verbal longcat quite often where she just barrages you with nonsensical information, that you, in the end of the conversation you forget what the question was in the beginning. You just scroll and scroll – she just makes you scroll through, until you can’t hang on to any semblance of an idea of a question that started it.
 

PODCAST here