Barbara Hammer: Artist Talk and Screening

Electronic Arts Intermix
535 W 22nd St., Fifth Floor

Tickets: $7, $5 students, free for members. Purchase here.

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is pleased to present an evening with Barbara Hammer, organized on the occasion of Barbara Hammer: Evidentiary Bodies, a major retrospective at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and venues throughout New York City. Hammer’s work over five decades is pioneering for its focus on lesbian desire and relationships, and also for its extraordinary formal innovations across media. This screening and artist talk at EAI will formally launch EAI's distribution of Hammer’s moving-image work, and will spotlight the artist’s use of video, early computer animations, and an Internet-based project.

Barbara Hammer’s tactile engagement with film as material is widely appreciated. The artist’s use of color, framing, superimpositions, and dynamic editing has produced a body of work that is uniquely affecting to experience as an audience. A strong emphasis on sensuality, eroticism, and interpersonal relations invites viewers to feel engaged and empowered by watching. Participation is an important consideration for Hammer, who often involves her audience directly in her live performances or interactive artworks.

The immediacy and interactivity of video and computer technologies only furthered Hammer’s exploration of participatory art. This ranged from early Portapak works such as Superdyke Meets Madame X (1975), a collaboration with her then partner, Max Almy, to a prescient Internet-based project, eco_lesbian (c. 1990s). No No Nooky T.V. (1987), a jubilant, candy-colored celebration of female sexuality, is an evocative collapse of media – shot on 16mm film, the work is composed of early computer graphics generated on an Amiga computer and consciously suggests the intimate viewership of television, even when projected in a theater.

Playfulness and good humor are also important aspects of Hammer’s work. In the video Would You Like to Meet Your Neighbor? A New York City Subway Tape (1985), Hammer, dressed in a suit and mask made of subway maps, interviews riders and encourages them to interact with each other. Nudging curmudgeonly New Yorkers to ask their subway neighbors what they’re reading, Hammer collects an indelible portrait of an eccentric city. The Subway Tape embodies Hammer’s interest in social dynamics and the relation between physical and psychological identity.

Following the screening, Hammer will be in dialogue with film and media curator Sally Berger, and will give a demonstration of her Internet project, which offered individuals a communal, anonymous platform for expressing and sustaining lesbian desire and identity—a vital and nurturing endeavor that is in keeping with Hammer’s tremendous influence and contribution.