Above the fold in Sweden

Swedish news reporter Karin Eriksson stopped me (Cecilia Dougherty), Phyllis Baldino and Laura Parnes on the street in Lower Manhattan on the night of Trump’s first indictment on rape charges. She was asking New Yorkers their opinions on the indictment. As it turns out, all of us were elated and we expressed that to Karin, who turned it into a story for the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter, on the first page of the Världen (“World” news) section.

Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter headline about Trump indictment

Karin’s article featured the photo, above, of me, Phyllis and Laura – three video artists having a night on the town – as we respond with joy to the question of what we might think of Trumps’ legal problems and having finally been brought to court. Here’s a link to the article:

https://www.dn.se/varlden/new-york-bor-hyllade-atalet-i-natt-underbart/

Trump lost that case, but now he’s under a new indictment under the Espionage Act. Finally.

And here’s Karin Eriksson, who kindly showed us her credentials:


Who Owns Prehistory?

We do! All of us! Because it is about us!

So, no more exclamation points, please.

Cecilia Dougherty on a field trip on February 9, 2023, to the Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History with her students enrolled in HMS-340S-01, Who Owns Prehistory?  

This is one my courses at Pratt Institute. A course I designed. My baby. In the course, we non-scientists (we, artists, that is) look at the discourses of science surrounding the never-ending question to figure out what is “human,” who qualifies as “human,” and how many species of bona fide “humans” are there? The discourses are fun and interesting and always spark my imagination like crazy. And going to the American Museum of Natural History with my students was like turning on all the lights. They saw things I hadn’t seen, even after many trips. They pointed out objects, displays, topics that I had always missed or glossed over. Paleolithic music, for example – music, hearing, the development of the ear. Very important topic.

Cecilia Dougherty looking at an exhibit in the Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History, New York
Cecilia Dougherty at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo by Gina Marchetti.

In Conversation: an online event about the early works (1985-2001) of Cecilia Dougherty.

I want to thank Gina Marchetti for organizing this event, and Amanda Mendelsohn for her amazing work, for writing about my videos, and for doing this event with me.

We had a really good time! Thanks to everyone who came and who participated.

This event has been recorded! Here’s a link to the event:

https://talks.pratt.edu/media/t/1_641c9hqs/269360392

PRATT HUMANITIES AND MEDIA STUDIES PRESENTS
Click to Register:
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)

More Information

Cecilia Dougherty in conversation with Amanda Mendelsohn

Monday, Feb 27, 7PM (EST)

Video still, Gone, 2001

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.

Register here: https://forms.gle/cg3w6S9eNGHM44Dv5

The event will be held in Zoom.

 Make Believe, It’s Just Like the Truth Clings to It: In Conversation with the Work of Cecilia Dougherty

 New writing on the work of Cecilia Dougherty

by Amanda Mendelsohn

Cecilia Dougherty got her start as a video artist in an unconventional way, fitting for her experimental body of work. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, Dougherty was a painter. However, in her last semester of college, she took a video production class, changing the course of her education and career permanently. Dougherty fell in love with video art, and was inspired to singularly pursue the medium. Using the one video she made for that class,

Dougherty applied to the Performance and Video MFA program at the San Francisco Institute of Art in the late ‘80s, and the rest was history. Prior to this, she had very little knowledge about the history of video art, let alone the process of making it. Additionally, during this time period Dougherty was grappling with her identity as a lesbian in a heteronormative society, working to “find an adequate expression of it as a place to exist inside the social realm sexually, politically, and personally.”

She was simultaneously breaking ground in new territory as an artist, and that territory for lesbian expression was in no way near established for video art. Combining this aspect of her life with her practice, Dougherty created the following works included in this program: The Drama of the Gifted Child (1992), My Failure to Assimilate (1995), The dream and the waking (1997), and Gone (2001).

video still, Gone, by Cecilia Dougherty, 2001

Read the entire article here

(All quotes attributed to Cecilia Dougherty from the author’s interview with Dougherty on July 15th, 2022.)

See and read PDF of this essay here.

Chaos Theory (Remembering Dale Hoyt)

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.

Video still from Your World Dies Screaming by Dale Hoyt

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.

RELATED: This online screening is presented as accompaniment to the one-time-only screening Dale is Dead presented February 7, 2023, 7:30PM, at The Lab (full details here) and the publication of An Urgent S.O.S through a Sea of Static: Writings by Dale Hoyt and Natalie Welch published by San Francisco Cinematheque a zine compendium of Dale’s writings (details here).

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.

program notes by Steve Seid

Read the entire program notes here.

This month (Jan 2023) in San Francisco

Dale is Dead

(a fact which saddens me beyond tears)

SCREENING: Your World Dies Screaming (1981); Dancing Death Monsters (1981); Ringo Zappruder (1981/82); Over My Dead Body (1983); The Complete Anne Frank (1985); Braille (1986); Transgenic Hairshirt (2001); Don’t Be Cruel (2004); Because (2006).  All works by Dale Hoyt.

RELATED: Chaos Theory: An  online program featuring works by Dale Hoyt’s contemporaries 1981–1988 (details here) and An Urgent S.O.S through a Sea of Static: Writings by Dale Hoyt and Natalie Welch published by San Francisco Cinematheque (details here).

From the program notes by curator Steve Seid:

Dale is Dead
by Steve Seid
Dale Hoyt (1961–2022)
Dale is Dead. Dale Hoyt who at age 19 was already showing his irascible works to perplexed audiences. Dale who five years in made a remarkable, sui generis video, The Complete Anne Frank, that still holds its own. Dale who, it was rumored, slept on the roof of the SFAI when his money got thin. Dale whose uncompromising ways never found welcome from grants panels of his supposed peers. Dale who left briefly to run the video program at New York’s The Kitchen, but faithfully returned. Dale who in later years haunted the Tenderloin like a sage and wily guy. Dale who left behind a chill absence where his vital life had once warmly sounded.

But let me tell you about Dale Hoyt’s body of videowork that streamed forth for a decade, then vanished for a time, only to return in his waning years. Dale came-of-rage in a fruitful moment, the late-70s/early-80s. From the scrap heap of punk culture, he snatched an aesthetic that was low-rent, appropriative and bratty. Video art had moved on from the performative documentation of the ‘70s to cut-and-paste storytelling from the likes of Tony Labat, the Yonemotos, Ilene Segalove, Tony Oursler and others. Dale deployed shreds of narrative, shrewd iconoclasm, and cut-and-paste tech, then coerced his artist-pals into enacting their own angst. The never-faltering early works, like Your World Dies Screaming (1981), Dancing Death Monsters (1981) and Ringo Zappruder (1981/82), drilled into the frontal lobe of juvenile yearning, marshaling pop icons, cascading pills, viscous props and grotesque wallowing as the stuff of post-pubescent misery. Atop this heap, Dale added a miasma of sound bites, pop song lifts, and plaintive dialogue to amass an unnerving swamp of sonorities. 

Online screening of works by those of us who were in the same groove in San Francisco i the 1980s.

RELATED ONLINE SCREENING (January 12–31): Chaos Theory: Dale Hoyt and His Circle

How would you describe a gathering group of unruly artists? A fortuitous anarchism, or just trouble on the way? This online streaming accompaniment to Dale is Dead—also curated by Steve Seid—presents performance/video work from the turbulent Bay Area ‘80s, a selective sampler pack of works informing and informed Hoyt’s iconoclastic work. Artists include: Marshall Weber, Leslie Singer, Cecilia Dougherty, Andrew Huestis, Paula Levine, Ivar Smedstad, Azian Nurudin, Emjay Wilson and more from Hoyt himself. Details and complete program here.

And for some flavor, here’s Dale’s unofficial commencement address to the final San Francisco Art Institute (RIP!) graduating class:

CYFEST 13, St. Petersburg, 2021

The show was in November, 2021, before all hell broke loose. And the catalogue just came out, June 2022.

Image from the CYFEST 13 catalogue showing gallery installation of my web-based essay , “Drift”

Cecilia Dougherty (USA)
DRIFT
web-based art, 2020

“Drift” tells the story of a walk the artist took in March, 2020, along the North Shore of Staten Island, NY, just as it was beginning to dawn on people that
leisurely strolls might be a bad idea at the present moment. The project
was created using basic HTML/CSS coding, and the images were taken
with an iPhone. The artist takes a final stroll through favorite parts of her neighborhood before lockdown.

Descriptions of the surroundings and a chronicle of events of the pandemic are mixed with critical thoughts on virus capitalism, such as the experience of
resisting the virus in the USA and the inaction of the Trump administration.


I like the way my piece, Drift, is displayed – it’s a good size – not gigantic and not tiny, and it’s at a height and an angle that looks pretty accessible to me. Thank you, CYFEST!

Find Drift here: https://drift.ceciliadougherty.com/