Barbara Hammer, “Tell me there is a lesbian forever …”

Barbara Marteau, Available space # 2, 1978, Gelatin silver print, 5 x 7 in.

Centered on a selection of works that demonstrate Hammer’s range of technical, figurative and abstract research in 16mm film, collage, drawing and photography. This exhibition will explore the concept and themes of the “mirror” and present never before seen archival material of Hammer’s life and career between 1968 – 1981, the year McClodden was born.

Barbara marteau Tell me there is a lesbian forever … Organized by Tiona Nekkia McClodden from October 2 to November 6

About the artist

As a child, Barbara Hammer “always wanted to live up to my name”. As an adult in the 1970s, she made her wish come true: her striking voice resonated in groundbreaking films that celebrated female sexuality as she discovered hers, in the decade she called “that glorious time.” feminist ideals and the lesbian jump in bed. Hammer, who created more than 100 films on a wide variety of subjects over the next 40 years, died in New York City on March 16 at age 79. Hammer’s partner, 31, Florrie Burke, confirmed the death de Hammer’s endometrioid ovarian cancer.

Hammer was first diagnosed with the disease in 2006, but doctors who came up with grim statistics neglected to account for Hammer’s supernatural energy, curiosity, and passion for creating: over the 13 years after his initial diagnosis, Hammer made seven new films, published an autobiography, Hammer! Make movies out of sex and life, has traveled to over 20 countries, created two awards programs for queer filmmakers, and held retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2017, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York organized a retrospective of his films, photographs, drawings and sculptures, which New York Times art critic Holland Cotter named one of this year’s best exhibitions.

Hammer’s final work, Evidence bodies, a three-channel film and installation with accompanying music, is set to premiere in 2019 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

“Barbara’s work is notable not only for the radical approach to performance that it launched around the time it was produced, but also because it will endure as a crucial role model for the empowerment of our people. bodies and our communities, even in times of fragility and pain, ”said Stuart Comer, chief curator of the media and performance department at the Museum of Modern Art.

Born on May 15, 1939 in Hollywood, California, Hammer learned about cinema very early on. Hammer’s mother hoped that “Barbie Jean” – who, at the age of three, displayed the playful confidence that has characterized her entire life – could become a star like Shirley Temple. This dream died when the family could not afford professional acting lessons.

A day after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA in 1961 (she later added two master’s degrees), Hammer married Clayton Ward, whose proposal she had accepted on condition that he take her around the world. . He did; they spent 12 months from Italy to Hong Kong on a 7,500cc Lambretta scooter. His passion for travel will later inspire several films, of the aptly titled Traveling (1970), who recorded aspects of a motorcycle trip through Europe and Africa, to Women divers from Jeju-do (2007), for which she dived with Korean women who collect seashells from the bottom of the sea without oxygen tanks.

Returning to California after touring the world and in search of her own path, Hammer followed a rudimentary desire to be an artist: She enrolled in a painting class taught by abstract expressionist William Morehouse, who saw such a movement in Hammer’s paintings that he encouraged her to experiment with film.

Using a Super 8 camera with a bifocal lens, Hammer made his first film, Schizy, who captured his feelings at the time. “I was literally a woman living in a man’s world. The film received an honorable mention at the Sonoma State Super 8 Film Festival, and Hammer launched her new life: as a filmmaker, single woman and lesbian, a word she had never heard before she was 30. .

“When I first had sex with a woman, my whole outlook on the world changed,” Hammer said. “In addition to sensual pleasures, my social network has completely changed; I was swept away by the energies and dreams of a feminist revolution. Hammer made 29 films in the 1970s, many of which reflected his exploration of gender and identity.

Critic Rachel Churner wrote that Hammer’s films possess “a seemingly limitless enthusiasm for exploring new bodies and new mediums; a serious attempt to visually capture what it feels like to touch another woman; … And above all a radical openness and generosity with his collaborators on screen and with his audience.

This generous spirit led Hammer to sponsor two awards for young filmmakers: The Queer Cinema Prize, awarded annually to a student by the Queer Institute at San Francisco State University, and the Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Film Making Grant, donated by Queer | Art in New York.

“Barbara was a dynamic presence whose work, wit and unique gift of tenacity and humor were an antidote to the unnecessary posture for which the art world is famous,” said filmmaker Daniel Eisenberg, professor. of cinema at the School of the Art Institute. from Chicago. “She was generous in the most basic and humane way – and she was always genuinely herself.”

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, during the Reagan era, AIDS, and heightened LGBT activism, Hammer’s films blended feminist politics, lesbian eroticism, and social commentary. His first feature film, Nitrate kisses (1992), bringing together historical footage, interviews with gay couples and scenes from James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber Lot at Sodom (1933) to paint a portrait of the marginalization of LGBT people in the 20e century. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival and received the Polar Bear Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. the film.

Hammer’s next film, Tender Fictions (1995), examined the nature of truth in biography and autobiography, and featured images of Hammer’s life partner, Florrie Burke, whom Hammer met at the West Coast Women’s Music Festival near Yosemite in 1986. Burke was psychotherapist and clinic director at UCSF when they met; she then began working with marginalized populations of immigrants, refugees and trafficked people, and was the first recipient of the Presidential Award for her extraordinary efforts in combating human trafficking during the Obama administration . Hammer and Burke’s 31-year relationship was rooted in humor, a shared passion for travel, and a deep mutual respect for each other’s work. “I make movies, but Florrie literally saves lives,” Hammer said. After years of short-term relationships, Hammer wrote in his autobiography: “I had no idea that I would be lucky enough to be embraced by the wit, intelligence, passion and steadfastness of a woman. only woman.

Barbara was the epitome of irrepressible joy and zest for all the living things in her life – hiking, swimming, fishing, picking blueberries, mediating a poem, digging in the dirt, talking deeply with a friend, make a movie and love it darling Florrie, “said longtime friend poet Janlori Goldman.” Barbara brought play, depth and a fourth dimension to every moment. Us, her friends and them. larger communities that it has touched, are animated and changed for the better for its place in the universe.

Hammer’s production slowed down in the 2000s as it focused on a series of longer films, including several, including my babushka (2001) and Resilient paradise (2003), addressed the themes of civil liberties and resistance. When Hammer was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, she chronicled her own “resistance” in A horse is not a metaphor (2008), as she “found beauty in the rays of light coming through the window and the chemo bag” and riding in New Mexico and Wyoming after the chemo was over. “Surviving wasn’t the word for how I felt,” Hammer wrote. “I was booming! ”

The exhibition of the Hammer gallery 2017, “Truant” at the company gallery featured intimate photographs from the 1970s and production footage from his film shoots. Writing for the online arts journal Hyperallergic, Susan Silas noted that Hammer “gives us women who are comfortable in their skin; who have their own agency and who, like Hammer herself, have refused to be managed.

The last gallery exhibition during his lifetime took place in September 2018 at KOW-Madrid. “Contribution to light” showcased Hammer’s early cinematographic works, most of which had never been seen in public. Hammer’s work is housed in several permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Center Pompidou in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Australian Center for the Moving Image in Melbourne. His complete catalog of 16 and 8mm films, as well as Super 8, is in the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive in Los Angeles, and his articles are available for review at Yale University Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library in New Haven. Andrew Durbin and Susan Champlin lyrics


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