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.”


There’s Something Happening Here

I’m working with artist David D. Kalal on a conversation in animated gifs. These two are the latest.

My second animated gif for Inbetweentheories.com, a non-theoretical critical response to contemporary culture

 

animated gif in support of whistle-blowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden
My third gif for Inbetweentheories.com. I am enjoying data bending & glitching images, but the next one will be DIFFERENT!

Our website is Inbewteentheories.com. Visit us!

 

 

Cecilia Dougherty at the Wexner Center for the Arts

This Woman’s Work: Ericka Beckman, Cecilia Dougherty, and Jennifer Reeder

In celebration of the Film/Video Studio Program

Sat, Apr 8, 2017 12:30 PM
 
video still from Gone, 2-channel installation by Cecilia Dougherty
Video still from my 2-channel installation GONE (2001, 37 mins), starring the inimitable Laurie Weeks.

Join the Wexner to celebrate the accomplished work of female filmmakers supported by the studio throughout its 27-year history. Exploring both traditional and experimental approaches to narrative, this program includes Hiatus, Ericka Beckman’s phantasmagoric, analogue exploration of virtual reality (1999, 30 mins., 16mm transferred to video); Gone, Cecilia Dougherty’s split-screen recreation of the PBS docudrama An American Family, here starring artists Laurie Weeks and Amy Sillman and featuring music by Le Tigre and Mike Iveson (2001, 36 mins., video); and the Ohio premiere of Artist Residency Award recipient Jennifer Reeder’s 2016 film Crystal Lake (19 mins., HD video). (program approx. 85 mins.)

Curated by the excellent Jennifer Lange