Beth B

Working in a variety of art forms and media, including video, feature film, and installation, Beth B creates provocative narratives that mine the violence below the surface of contemporary life. A forerunner of the explosive New York New Wave/punk scene of the late 1970s, B first garnered critical acclaim with her short films and features produced with Scott B, including the stylized film noirs Black Box (1979) and Vortex (1983).

Her subsequent work, including her videotapes, merge documentary and fiction, the personal and the cultural, horror and lyricism, with references that range from Artaud and Bataille to Jim Thompson and Bret Easton Ellis. Themes of loss, death, oppression and desire — the darkness at the core of the everyday — run through her video works, such as Belladonna (1989), Thanatopsis (1991), and Under Lock and Key(1994).

B's works include the feature films Visiting Desire (1996), Small Bodies (1993) and Battlefields of Recovery, a documentary on Vietnam veterans. In 1997, B was commisioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to create a theater production for their Next Wave Festival's Artists in Action Series. In 2001 B started making television documentaries and docudramas including Positive ID: The Case Files of Anthony Falsetti (2008) and Death of a Rising Star (2005). In 2013 her non-fiction feature film Exposed on eight women and men who use nakedness to take viewers beyond sexual and social conventions premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2016 CALL HER APPLEBROOG a feature documentary film on B's mother, artist Ida Applebroog, premiered at MoMA's Doc Fortnight. Her recent project, Voyeur (2017), is an installation of video, photography and sculpture that explores the varied perceptions of the female and male gaze.

Beth B studied at the University of California at Irvine, and received her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, and was in residence at the Screenwriter's Lab at the Sundance Institute.

She was a co-founder of the artist's group Colab (Collaborative Projects Inc.), and organized the video program of the landmark Times Square Show in 1980. B's work has been the subject of retrospectives at London's National Film Theater; The Montreal Film Festival; Lisbon's Nucleo Dos Cineastas Independentes; and the Danish Film Institute. Her works have been shown at numerous galleries and festivals, including the 1991 Biennial Exhibition of the Whitney Museum of American Art; BAM, New York; PPOW Gallery, New York; Tate Gallery, UK; The Museum of Modern Art and the Walter Reade Theater, New York; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; the Sundance Film Festival; and at festivals in Toronto, Berlin, Rotterdam and Florence. Her film work is represented in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Great Britain, and the Aldrich Collection. She lives in New York.