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.




WayBay Video Screening at the Berkeley Art Museum Jan – Mar 2018

video still from Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty
Video still from my first video, GAY TAPE:BUTCH AND FEMME, which I made as an undergrad at UC Berkeley.

Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive Exhibition

Current exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) includes my work, Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985), which I made as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, and Leslie (1998), a portrait of writer Leslie Scalapino, in a new BAMPFA exhibition, Way Bay, that will open in January 2018. Way Bay–which is co-curated by Lawrence Rinder, Kathy Geritz, and David Wilson, with Jon Shibata and Matthew Coleman–”will be one of the most expansive exhibitions of art from and about the Bay Area in recent memory.” You can read more about Way Bay by visiting the BAM/PFA website.

video still from Leslie, by Cecilia Dougherty
video still from LESLIE, a portrait of writer Leslie Scalapino