september, 2019

sat07sepAll Daysun22FeaturedBarbara Hammer: Boundless(All Day) National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington DC USACountry:USA

Event Details

For more than half a century, artist and filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939 – 2019) created works unique in sensibility, subject matter, and influence. Exploring lesbian identity, politics, and personal narrative, and delving into visceral manifestations of pleasure, pain, aging, and infirmity, Hammer used the camera as an extension of her body to discover ways of communicating experience. Her purposeful engagement with audiences fostered and influenced many generations of filmmakers, and her groundbreaking work shaped contemporary film culture in multiple ways. This series includes examples of films and videos that Hammer made in shorter formats, although her oeuvre also embraced feature-length and performance works. With special thanks to Florrie Burke, and to Carmel Curtis and Joan Hawkins who organized the first iteration of Barbara Hammer: Boundless at Indiana University. The series includes new prints courtesy of the Academy Film Archive, as well as restorations by Electronic Arts Intermix, BB Optics, and the Academy through the National Film Preservation Foundation, the Film Foundation and the George Lucas Family Foundation.

still from Audience (1982)
courtesy The Barbara Hammer Estate


    • Day 1
    • Day 2
    • Day 16
    • September 7, 2019
    • 2:00pm The Beginning: Early Short Films, 1968 – 19802:00pm - 3:35pmEast Building Auditorium From the start of her filmmaking practice, Barbara Hammer was committed to visibility through portraiture — of herself, others, and communities of women. “My strategy . . . throughout the ’70s was to put a lesbian body on the screen, to bring a lesbian subjectivity to film, to question heteronormative experimental film,” she said. This program of new 16mm prints includes Schizy (1968, from 8mm, new print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive), where the artist confronts gender play; Jane Brakhage (1975), a portrait of well-known experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s first wife; and Double Strength (1978), a poetic portrayal of Hammer’s relationship with trapeze artist Terry Sendgraff, (both prints restored by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation) among other titles. (Total running time 94 minutes)

    • 4:00pm The Middle: Short Films from the 1980s4:00pm - 5:20pmEast Building Auditorium Developing her optical printing techniques and utilizing the increasingly accessible mediums of analogue video and early computer imagery, Barbara Hammer’s work in the 1980s continued to address media representations of women, including women’s views of their own sexuality, as opposed to the male view. Included are Sync Touch (1981, new print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive), “a lesbian/feminist aesthetic proposing the connection between touch and sight to be the basis for a ‘new cinema’” (Canyon Cinema); Audience (1982, restored by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation), a self-described diary of audience reactions from several public and international presentations of Hammer’s work; and the critique Snow Job: The Media Hysteria of AIDS (1988), among other titles. (Total running time 80 minutes)

    • September 8, 2019
    • 4:00pm Hammer Time: Collaboration and Community4:00pm - 5:20pmEast Building Auditorium Jennifer Lange, KJ Mohr, Lynne Sachs, Mark Street, and Deborah Stratman in person Barbara Hammer developed unique artistic collaborations with other filmmakers and supporters. This event includes screenings and discussions with several collaborating artists and with Jennifer Lange, curator of Film/Video at the Wexner Center for the Arts, an artist-in-residence program where Hammer produced and screened many works. Titles include Maya Deren’s Sink (Barbara Hammer, 2011, 30 minutes), filmed on location (with KJ Mohr) at Deren’s homes in New York City and Los Angeles; Vever (for Barbara) (Deborah Stratman, 2019, 12 minutes), incorporating footage Hammer filmed in 1970s Guatemala; two recent titles by Lynne Sachs: a short triptych of influential artists, Carolee, Barbara, and Gunvor (2018, 8 minutes), and A Month of Single Frames (2019, 15 minutes); and the short film So Many Ideas Impossible To Do All, made with Mark Street (2019, 11 minutes). Total running time 76 minutes

    • September 22, 2019
    • 4:00pm The Never Ending4:00pm - 5:00pmEast Building Auditorium Barbara Hammer’s focus on physicality and the body continued throughout her life, as did a sustained exploration into the aging process, the ramifications of illness, and an unflinching perspective on the act of dying. Sanctus (1990, 19 minutes, restored by the Academy Film Archive) is woven from X-ray footage recorded in the 1950s by Dr. James Sibley Watson; it is followed by A Horse Is Not a Metaphor (2008, 30 minutes), the artist’s depiction of her own struggle with the diagnoses and treatment of ovarian cancer. For Hammer, “ . . . cancer is not a ‘battle,’ cancer is a disease. There are aberrant cells not ‘deadly foes.’ She is not ‘combative and brave,’ she is living with cancer. She is not going to win or lose her ‘battle.’ She is not a ‘survivor,’ she is living with cancer. . . . ” The program concludes with a single-channel version of the multichannel installation Evidentiary Bodies (2018, 11 minutes), Hammer’s last completed work. (Total running time 60 minutes)


september 7 (Saturday) - 22 (Sunday)


National Gallery of Art

4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington DC USA