Art History

1995
Hollis Sigler 1995: An Interview

In 1985, Hollis Sigler, a leading feminist artist in Chicago, was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that had also stricken her mother and great-grandmother. This interview with Hollis Sigler focuses on the period of her life beginning with the work entitled Breast Cancer Journals, a series of paintings, drawings, and collages expressing a wide range of emotional responses to the various stages of her struggle with cancer encompassing more than 100 works. Art in America called Sigler’s Breast Cancer Journals “one of contemporary art's richest and most poignant treatments of sickness and health.Taking on a kind of religious conviction, her jewel-colored symbols imbue a death-haunted situation with miraculous, celebratory life.” 

1999
Some Chance Operations

Shot in Naples, Vienna, and New York, Some Chance Operations explores the notion of an archival form, in this instance film, as an unstable memory receptacle that can vanish. History and how it is made is meditated upon as one of many chance operations. The filmmaker Elvira Notari, who had a film production company in Naples from 1906 to 1930, plays a significant role as an impetus for Some Chance Operations. Despite the fact that she was a prolific filmmaker, producing over sixty feature films, only three remain intact.

2015
Spectacle: A Portrait of Stuart Sherman, Robin Deacon

“We lose good artists to the past all the time because their work was ephemeral, or difficult, or fashion wasn’t on their side. The performance artist Stuart Sherman, who died of AIDS in 2001, was a candidate for disappearance on all three counts.” 

— New York Times, 2009

2017
Spell Reel, Filipa César

Spell Reel is an archive of film and audio material from Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. On the verge of complete ruin, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader who was assassinated in 1973.

1990
Sphinxes Without Secrets

Sphinxes Without Secrets is an energetic and transgressive acount of outstanding female performance artists, and an invaluable document of feminist avant-garde work of the 70s and 80s. No Mona Lisa smiles here, as performance artists spill their guts about what outrages and delights them. Performers, curators, and critics unravel the mysteries of a new art form and ponder the world women confront today. Since its inception, performance art has provided a forum for artists who create work that challenges the dominant aesthetic and cultural status quo.

1997
Still Life

According to Harun Farocki, today's photographers working in advertising are, in a way, continuing the tradition of 17th century Flemish painters in that they depict objects from everyday life - the "still life". The filmmaker illustrates this intriguing hypothesis with three documentary sequences which show the photographers at work creating a contemporary "still life": a cheese-board, beer glasses and an expensive watch. 

2018
Filipa César and Louis Henderson; Sunstone

Sunstone tracks Fresnel lenses from their site of production to their exhibition in a museum of lighthouses and navigational devices. It also examines the diverse social contexts in which optics are implicated, contrasting the system of triangular trade that followed the first European arrivals in the ‘New World’ with the political potential seen in Op art in post-revolutionary Cuba.

2014

The Surface Tension Trilogy is comprised of three experimental videos tracking the rise and fall of the Weimar Era in Berlin through the perspectives of Frida Kahlo & Anita Berber, Hannah Hoch, and Leni Riefenstahl & Eva Braun, each of them women who lived and worked in the city at this time.

1995
Surveying the First Decade: Video Art and Alternative Media in the U.S.  1968-19

Since its original release in 1995, this comprehensive two-volume, eight-program package on the history of experimental and independent video curated by Christine Hill was available only on VHS tape. The DVD launch brings this essential tool for the understanding of the development of media arts to a whole new generation of teachers, libraries, students and researchers.

2010
Susan Mogul, Woman's Building

“Nobody likes you if they think you’re rude- you better act the way you should.” But we didn’t.

Telling it the way it was lived, Susan Mogul’s short film captures the energy, passion and radical spirit of the Los Angeles Woman’s Building (1973-1991), a groundbreaking center for women’s culture.

2016
Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos

Video Data Bank is proud to present the poetic work of West Coast conceptual artist Paul Kos. This two-disc box set features 25 video works that reveal how Kos mines humble materials for their physical properties and metaphorical possibilities. Included is a 50-page monograph containing specially commissioned essays that expand upon Kos’ five-decade long practice by art scholar Constance Lewallen and SFMOMA’s Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling. 

2015
Marcia Tucker 1974: An Interview

In April 1974, Video Data Bank co-founders Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield conducted their first interview, an in-depth conversation with art historian and curator Marcia Tucker. During the remainder of that year, Blumenthal and Horsfield went on to interview four more notable art world women: Joan Mitchell, Lucy Lippard, Agnes Martin and Ree Morton.

2009
The Four Chambered Heart, Filipa César

In 1959, Jean Rouch directed the film La Pyramide Humaine. Situated between fiction and documentary, Rouch’s work presents his attempts to initiate a debate between two groups of students from the Ivory Coast, a white group and a Black group. A precursor to cinéma vérité, this often forgotten film served as the starting point of The Four Chambered Heart.

1970
Videofreex, Tosun Bayrak's Love America or Live

The Videofreex document a street intervention by Turkish artist Tosun Bayrak (b.1926). The performance was to become a notorious example of the element of "shock" in contemporary art. Within the work:

2009
tryphon: three sounds, the art of thomas h. kapsalis

tryphon: three sounds is a candid portrait of the artist Thomas H. Kapsalis (b.