LGBTQ

Los Angeles-based, Kaucyila Brooke (b.1952) makes what she describes as, "wall size photographic sequences in comic-strip format that consider lesbian relationships within American popular culture." Produced over the past five years, Brooke’s large-scale photo-text installations look at aspects of lesbian culture and alternative communities. Wry and often quite critical, they probe some of the ways lesbian relationships both challenge and reproduce the power relations and narratives of the wider culture.

A glittering, Las Vegas-inspired music video for John Sex’s song "Bump and Grind It".  With an outrageous fountain hairdo (by stylist Danilo), Sex sings his catchy pop lyrics, “You gotta put your love behind it/Bump, bump, bump and grind it.”  Featuring the Bodacious Ta-Tas and inter-cut with Vegas showgirl footage.

This title is also available on Tom Rubnitz Videoworks: Sexy, Wiggy, Desserty.

The Bus Stops Here is an experimental narrative about two sisters, Judith and Anna, plunged into depression by their struggle to gain control over their lives. Narrated by Judith’s counselor, The Bus Stops Here traps these women in a narrative in which their unmediated voices are rarely heard; instead, the viewer learns about them only through the interceding power structures of narrative, family, and psychiatric establishment.

This video diary visits two sites that exhibited my visual works this past year, culminating at the VOLTA ART SHOW in N.Y.C., where I sold some paintings and a photograph.

The underling theme of the diary deals with some bloating, scarring and beefcake exposure while on the road to an acting gig where I'm scheduled to play a BI-SEXUAL, paraplegic in heat.

There are some in depth scenes of me working out the romance/sex routines with a young and attractive, male co-star. The all-girl crew appears to be getting off on the whole thing and I don't blame them!

In conversation with David Getsy — an art historian focusing on queer and transgender methodologies in sculpture theory and performance history — Cassils discusses their monumental performance artworks and inspirations.

Taiwanese artist Shu Lea Cheang (b. 1954) tackles conceptions of racial assimilation in American culture, examining the political underbelly of everyday situations that affect the relationship between individuals and society. Using video in formally innovative installations, her works include the Airwaves Project, which focused on the one-way flow of global information and industrial waste, and Those Fluttering Objects of Desire, an installation presenting the work of women artists negotiating interracial sexual politics.

Rubnitz’s short cooking clip showcases a chicken casserole recipe from the kitchen of Elaine Clearfield. All you need is chicken, rice, a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, a can of cream of mushroom condensed soup, and water!

This title is only available on Tom Rubnitz Videoworks: Sexy, Wiggy, Desserty.

Quoting Confucius, that “food and sex are human nature,” Chinese Characters builds a parallel between the Chinese legend about the search for the source of the Yellow River and contemporary Asian-Canadian gay men’s search for pleasure via their relationship to gay pornography. Advancing the positive value of pornography as a way to help fantasize and experience greater sexual pleasure and ingenuity, personal techniques are demonstrated and deployed in a High Noon dream of sexual adventure.

The Chocolate Factory is a suite of monologues in the voice of a fictionalized serial killer, one monologue for each victim. The camera, with an almost structuralist rigor, pans up and down simple line drawings of each of the seventeen victims. A Black Sabbath song, picked apart and extended, serves as punctuation and soundtrack. Reinke has described the video as, "My autobiography as Jeffrey Dahmer."  But really, as the narrator says, "It's all about the victims."

Claudia, 1987

An experiment in placing lesbian sexuality in its most common environment, daily life. Dougherty's initial intention was to represent lesbian sexuality with an objective camera by getting rid of all expressive aspects of camerawork — no close-ups, no zooms, no interesting angles or changes in subject-object dynamic, just straight-ahead shots. In this video, Dougherty studies whether sexuality can be separated from erotica, and whether all depictions of sexual acts are pornographic.

Shot primarily in Fisher-Price pixelvision, for the “murky look of memory," Coal Miner’s Granddaughter is a profoundly moving family portrait focusing on the youngest daughter Jane, as she leaves her Pennsylvania home and finds sexual independence in San Francisco. This semi-autobiographical narrative is remarkable for Dougherty’s unconventional approach: working with non-professional, plain-looking actors and improvised dialogue to recreate the life of the “average” family, and women who are “Plain Janes with big desires.”

Color Schemes was exhibited in its installation form (with a self-service washing machine) at the Whitney Museum in 1990. Using the washing machine as a metaphor for the great American “melting pot” of ethnicity, the video presents individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds “representing” their ethnicity — in one sense by being on camera, and also by acting out or speaking about ethnic divisions. Cheang plays with this “overdetermiNation” of ethnicity, creating a multi-layered discourse on racism and assimilation that condemns the former and refuses to condone the latter.

“The second in a planned trilogy of films about desire and domesticity that began with Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (2017), Come Coyote examines issues around queer reproduction, intimacy, and motherhood. Collaborators and partners Dani and Sheilah ReStack capture in fleeting, diaristic images the tender and terrifying feelings they have around ushering new life into the world, conveyed with both humor and a powerful immediacy."

— Projections at NYFF, 2019 catalogue

This humorous video begins with two women—one white, the other Asian—attempting to fit into a Japanese bathtub. The awkward fitting of bodies into a small space is just one of the allegorical scenarios dramatized in a pressing appeal for lesbian rights. In a game of hanafuda (flower cards), the terms of lesbian domesticity are cleverly played out according to such legalities as joint property, social security, and pensions.

Script/Performance Izumo Marou and Claire Maree, Superdyke Inc. Japan.

Song by Chu.

Community Action Center is a 69-minute sociosexual video by A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner which incorporates the erotics of a community where the personal is not only political, but sexual. This project was heavily inspired by porn-romance-liberation films, such as works by Fred Halsted, Jack Smith, James Bidgood, Joe Gage and Wakefield Poole, which served as distinct portraits of the urban inhabitants, landscapes and the body politic of a particular time and place.

Compromise is Episode 1 of the video art trilogy, This is More Than Love I Feel Inside, in which Jillian Peña traces a queer relationship from inception to demise.

“Criminality may present itself as a kind of saintly self-mastery, an absolute rejection of hypocrisy.”

—Angela Carter, The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978)

"Conspiracy Of Lies speaks of the alienation of minorities, of consumer culture, urban isolation and the fine balance between mental order and chaos. The video begins with a voice (my own) recounting the story of the discovery of a series of diary entries and lists written by an anonymous author. When I found the texts, I assumed the author to be a white, gay man, like myself. Through the use of twelve narrators of different race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, I attempted to destabilize my own subjectivity and challenge my pre-existing assumptions regarding difference.

From 1970 to 1972, Arthur Ginsberg and Video Free America recorded the private life of a not-so-average American couple-Carel Row and Ferd Eggan. She is a porn actress and filmmaker; he is a bisexual junkie. The video verite camera captures the desires and frustrations of their evolving relationship and their responses to the ongoing videotaping exercise. The tape, a study in "the effect of living too close to an electronic medium," reveals attitudes and discussions that also render it a fascinating social document of the west coast counterculture.

Stephen Varble (1946-1984) staged gender-confounding costume performances on the streets of 1970s Manhattan, and he became infamous for his anti-commercial disruptions of galleries, banks, and boutiques. In 1978, he retreated from this public work to focus on the making of an epic, unfinished piece of video art, Journey to the Sun, until his death in the first days of 1984. Lush, ribald, and unorthodox, the video mixed non-narrative costume performances with a surrealist fable of a messianic martyr, the Warbler.

Couch, 1994

From the point of view of the psychoananlyst's chair, we witness images that place us implicitly within the scene. The images depict two embracing men, and suggest a complex and ambiguous web of associations. The embrace is both erotic and tender, and invites questions about power relationships. The pain of love and possible rejection is exposed through the flash of a naked leg, or the vulnerability of a fleeting expression.

Covert Action is a stunning melange of rapid-fire retro imagery accomplishing Child’s proclaimed goal to “disarm my movies.” “I wanted to examine the erotic behind the social, and remake those gestures into a dance that would confront their conditioning and, as well, relay the multiple fictions the footage suggests (the ‘facts’ forever obscured in the fragments left us). The result is a narrative developed by its periphery, a story like rumor: impossible to trace, disturbing, explosive.”

Ann Cvetkovich is the Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is the author of a number of books and works also with documentary film, memoirs, music and dance performances, and visual art. Her work focuses on feminist and queer theory, affect and feeling, trauma, theories of the archive and oral history.

Danny, 1987

This video is a moving personal documentary about Danny, a friend of Kybartas who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1986. This powerful work explores the reason for Danny’s return home and his attempts to reconcile his relationship with his family members who had difficulty facing his homosexuality and his imminent death. Retracing Danny’s memory of his once-high lifestyle in the clubs and gyms of Miami, Danny avoids sentimentalizing its subject as it juxtaposes images, text, and voice-over to build a sense of the psychological struggle brought on by Danny’s impending, premature death.

His written letters will fade at the first light; if indeed he is dreaming the world!