The opening was on Saturday, Oct 21, and it was GOOD.
Curated by Terri c. Smith, a Bard Curitorial Program grad and someone who has done her research. I went with my friend Pat from New Haven and I had no expectations for this show – it could be great or it could be not so great. And it was very good (i.e., great) and completely engaging. Work by people I know, people I don’t know but admire, and people I once knew: Peggy Ahwesh, Max Almy, Ericka Beckman, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Cecelia Condit, Cecilia Dougherty, Ulysses Jenkins, Nam June Paik, Ann Magnuson, Piplotti Rist, and Michael Smith. Newcomers Am Schmidt and Willie Stewart as well.
Pat and I stayed ’til closing time. She took my picture – you can get a glimpse of how each artist’s work is installed – clean and neat, plenty of room to watch, and Paik’s work was set up with a comfy padded bench for viewing.
The show is up through the year, closing on Jan. 14, with a curator walk-through and reception on Dec. 9 from 3-5 PM.
Tubular Times is a group exhibition that features significant video art made from 1981-1993. The show also includes thematically related satellite installations with newer works by contemporary artists Am Schmidt and Willie Stewart. The historic component will be on view in the main gallery and black box room and will feature approximately twelve artists, including Peggy Ahwesh, Max Almy, Ericka Beckman, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Cecelia Condit, Cecilia Dougherty, Ulysses Jenkins, Nam June Paik, Ann Magnuson, Pipilotti Rist, and Michael Smith.
Terri C. Smith is showing my little-known 1986 video, SICK, a visual monologue about being disabled and closeted about my disability. But it’s not all doom and gloom – it’s an experimental piece created at the San Francisco Art Insitute, in Studio 9, which was equipped with a gigantic Grass Valley Switcher and Downstream Keyer. All our effects and colors were created in the live mix. Very analog, and lots ‘n lots of fun!
The exhibition is inspired by Vestron video, which was a production company and VHS distributor located in Stamford, Connecticut in the eighties and early nineties. Sharing qualities with Vestron’s catalog of B-horror, music video, and campy humor, many of the works in Tubular Times layer comedy, horror, and music to address 1980s political themes in the U.S., including the AIDS crisis, a growing wealth gap, and Reagan-era backlash to the civil liberties of the 1960s and 1970s. The show’s title references: cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions used in the 1980s; that decade’s saying “totally tubular”; and phonetically suggests the word turbulent.
1981 was the first year of MTV and the first year of the AIDS epidemic, setting much of the tone for a decade. It’s not surprising, then, that the video art of the 1980s exhibited a unique mix of urgency, desperation, camp, and techno celebration. In the video art of that era, gender identity, a sense of life-and-death urgency, theatricality, satire, and experimental digital techniques coalesced. During this time, we see irreverent divergences from the conceptual video art of the 1970s which, while often addressing sociopolitical themes, was rarely directly influenced by television and movies. With cable television growing in the mid-1970s and being in sixty-percent of American houses by 1992 and with VHS bringing movies into the home, the topographies of entertainment shifted dramatically during this time. Video editing also became more sophisticated, allowing artists to appropriate imagery from pop culture.
Vestron’s catalog was a mix of comedy, satirical spoofs, and thriller/horror genres. The company also was involved in music videos and released Making of Michael Jackson’sThriller. Vestron is best known for the film Dirty Dancing, but other movies they released include: quirky comedies like Earth Girls are Easy and The Princess Bride; horror movies such as Slaughter High and Horror Hill; and comedy-horror films such as Sundown: the Vampire Retreat and Lair of the White Worm. For some of the artists in Tubular Times, horror—a genre inextricably linked to VHS—becomes an allegory for the othering of the LGBTQ+ community as well as the systemic failure and loss of life during the AIDS crisis, which was further exacerbated by Reagan-era policies that centered cisgender, heteronormative, white, capitalist ideals. The resulting ethos of these videos is to varying degrees harrowing and hysterically funny.
It is fitting to locate Totally Tubular—an exhibition inspired by this piece of Connecticut film history—at Real Art Ways, a contemporary art space that has a long, rich history of supporting independent cinema through its film programming.
The work of artist Cecilia Dougherty explores the nature of queer women’s relationships to one another, society, and the everyday, as well as a feminist analysis of lesbian sexuality, psychologies, and intimacies inside a culture that is, at best, indifferent and at worst, hostile. She often uses methodologies borrowed from documentary and biography to map contemporary realities over pop-historical icons, creating art that deals with nostalgia, popular culture, and the state of society. Looking to Dougherty’s lasting legacy, we are pleased to present the lecture “Make Believe, It’s Just like the Truth Clings to It”: In Conversation with the Work of Cecilia Dougherty given by Amanda Mendelsohn, Graduate Distribution Assistant at the Video Data Bank, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago M.A. candidate in Modern and Contemporary Art History.
Exploring the earlier video works of Dougherty, this talk will address issues of identity, queerness, and experimentation. The four titles discussed, The Drama of the Gifted Child, My Failure to Assimilate, The dream and the waking, and Gone, range from 1992 to 2001, illuminating a specific time period of Dougherty’s work. Based on their VDBTV essay in part drawn from their interview with Dougherty, Mendelsohn explores their relationship to Dougherty’s experimental practice and catalog, as well as how the pieces fit into the broader picture of analysis. The lecture will be followed by an interview between Mendelsohn and Dougherty, then followed by an audience Q&A session.
“Make Believe, It’s Just like the Truth Clings to It”:
In Conversation with the Work of Cecilia DoughertyMonday, February 27, 2023, 7:00pm (EST)
The work of Cecilia Dougherty explores the nature of queer women’s relationships to one another, society, and the everyday as well as providing a feminist analysis of lesbian sexuality, psychologies, and intimacies inside a culture that is, at best, indifferent and at worst, hostile. She often uses methodologies borrowed from documentary and biography to map contemporary realities over pop-historical icons, creating art that deals with nostalgia, popular culture, and the social realm.
Looking to Dougherty’s lasting legacy, we are pleased to present the lecture “Make Believe, It’s Just Like the Truth Clings to It: In Conversation with the Work of Cecilia Dougherty.” The event is a conversation between Cecilia Doughery and Amanda Mendelsohn of the Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Curated by Steve Seid program online January 12–Febuary 7, 2023
Includes work by Cecilia Dougherty, Azian Nurudin, Leslie Singer, Marshall Weber, Dale Hoyt, Paula Levine, Emjay Wilson, Andy Heustis, and Ivar Smedstad.
SCREENING: Your World Dies Screaming (1981) by Dale Hoyt; Garbage Head (1981) by Marshall Weber; The Madonna Series, Parts 1–5 (1987) by Leslie Singer; Fuck You, Purdue (1987) by Cecilia Dougherty; Jungle Gym (1981) by Andrew Huestis; Mirror, Mirror (1987) by Paula Levine; High Fidelity (1986) by Ivar Smedstad; Funk Is Its Own Reward (1981) by Marshall Weber; Malaysian Series, Parts 1–6 (1987) by Azian Nurudin; My Pal Foot (excerpt) (1981) by Andrew Huestis; Donkey-Skin (1988) by Emjay Wilson.
Remember Dale Hoyt! Support video art and artists!
CHAOS THEORY by Steve Seid
How would you describe a gathering group of unruly artists? A fortuitous anarchism, or just trouble on the way? And if such a faction existed in one particular moment and in one particular place, the SFAI, providing unruly succor for its constituent parts, what would you call that moment? A discordant convergence?
Just such a thing occurred at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early-and-mid eighties when a gaggle of singular young artists converged on the recently formed Performance/Video Department and all (heaven and) hell broke loose. A moment, such as it was.
With every upheaval, whether aesthetic or political, there are ringleaders, and among them at the P/V Dept. was a bratty pact—Dale Hoyt, along with his pals Marshall Weber (who would go on to found Artists’ Television Access) and Andrew Huestis—and Cecilia Dougherty, leading an insurgent group of women artists that included Leslie Singer, Azian Nurudin, Didi Dunphy, Jill Garellick and others. The creative energy welling from this convergence was enough to overheat nearby North Beach. If you add to that mix a core faculty of Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Sharon Grace, Doug Hall, Kathy Acker and Tony Labat, you had fissionable artistic material.
On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Kevin Killian passed away. I shot this video of Kevin and Cedar Sigo in 2004, Kevin is reading one of Cedar’s poems, Theme, and his own poem, Who.
Kevin played the demanding and unforgiving father in my 1991 video, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, and he played Peggy, the enterprising literary agent of Joe Orton, in the collaborative bio-pic, Joe-Joe, which I created with Leslie Singer in 1993. Kevin was not an interpretive sort of actor. He created his characters from a sense of the total intention of the communicative enterprise and his contributions were enlightened and enlightening.
In the letter I received with Mirage Period(ical) #5, Kevin said he would like to talk to me on the phone. I emailed him saying I’d love to talk and when would be good for him. I was definitely completely out of it, didn’t know that he was dying, and had no sense of his invitation for one last conversation as a wish that he knew would not be granted. Not a wish from me, but just from time itself.
Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy edited two more issues of Mirage Period(ical). Issue #5 December 2018, cover above, finally brings my 1997 conversation with Yvonne Rainer to light. Thank you! You can read the conversation here. Read about Mirage here.
Film-Makers’ Cooperative, NYC New Year New Work 2019 4 programs of experimental and avant-garde films Friday Jan 25 – Sunday Jan 27, 2019
This is the 6th year that the Coop is holding a weekend of screenings to showcase work that’s come in over the previous year. My video portrait of Joe Westmoreland, called Joe, was screened on Friday, Jan 25 as part of the new works event.
Many friends were there. Joe Westmoreland, of course, and Charlie Atlas, with Lori E. Seid. And Elise Gardella, Phyllis Baldino, Amanda Trager, and Jim Hubbard all arrived. Sheila McLaughlin was there as well and introduced herself to me at the end. These people are all amazing!
The other work showcased: KG by Cynthia Madansky; Valeria Street by Janie Geiser, Carmel/Washington Heights/Home by Maia Liebeskind; Yem’s Place by Aaron Kelly-Penso; The Way Home by Erica Sheu; Soul Train by Carolina Mandia; Kendo Monogatari by Fabian Suarez; An Empty Threat by Josh Lewis.
What a fantastic screening! Makes remember why experimental filmvideo work is so important. It’s radical, it shows things in a new light, it asks lots of questions and many of those are visually-oriented.
Altogether, the events featured works by Ken Jacobs, Diana Barrie, Janie Geiser, Jack Waters, Josh Lewis, Cecilia Dougherty, Cynthia Madansky, Marie Losier, and more!!!
Curated by: Emily Apter, Ladya Cheryl, and Devon Narine-Singh.
Community in den Filmen von Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty und Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings DONNERSTAG, 23. AUGUST 2018, 19 Uhr
Here’s the description of the complete show, if you’re in Bern mañana:
In the late seventies, the filmmakers Lis Rhodes, Jo Davis, Felicity
Sparrow and Annabel Nicolson founded the feminist film and video
distribution network Circles in London. Circles was
created in response to the need to have a platform for films by women.
Previously, its founders had all been members of the London-based
Film-Maker’s Co-op, and Circles was also a response to the lack of representation of women filmmakers in that co-op. The
screening at the Kunsthalle is part of a series of events and
screenings focusing on filmmakers since the 1970s. The films screened
are by Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty as well as by Hannah Quinlan and
Rosie Hastings. They look in different ways at queer communities,
playing with stereotypes, exploring the autonomy of community spaces and
looking for individual forms of expressions within the communities.
With an introduction by the organizers Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff (Author
& Art Historian, Zurich) & Geraldine Tedder (Assistant Curator
Image: Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, UK Gay Bar Directory, 2016, Still from Film
Mit einer Einleitung von den Organisatorinnen Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff
(Autorin & Kunstwissenschaftlerin, Zürich) & Geraldine Tedder
(Kuratorische Assistenz Kunsthalle Bern)
I’m showing two videos, Eileen, from 2000, and Joe, from 2018 in Circles.