Shannon Plumb (American, b. 1970). Still from Commercials, 2002. Single-channel video, 25 min. 37 sec. Courtesy of the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery
May 1, 2009–January 10, 2010
When video emerged as a new medium in the early 1970s, feminist artists embraced it as a way to explore issues related to their own bodies, experiences, and identities. The rather straightforward capture of the artist performing (usually alone) in front of a stationary camera served as an avenue to investigate desire, autonomy, and selfhood. Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video presents recent video by a new generation of feminist artists. Like their ’70s precursors, these young artists place greater emphasis on their performances for the camera than on complex narratives or special effects.
The videos presented in this exhibition show varied approaches from humor to intense revelation. Thematic threads include the embrace of media appropriation and parody; repetition of self-imposed tasks; and rebelliousness—the lashing out against society and the self. Exhibiting artists are Cathy Begien; Jen DeNike; Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn; Kate Gilmore; K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood; Klara Liden; and Shannon Plumb.
The exhibition title Reflections on the Electric Mirror is taken from an eponymous essay written in the 1970s by artist/filmmaker Lynn Hershman that examines the link between television and video art. The mirror serves as an apt metaphor for work in which artists use their own images for various types of subjectivity and self-analysis, ranging from role playing to autobiography.
This exhibition is curated by Lauren Ross, Interim Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video is made possible by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.