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Family Album

Hermine Freed

1973 00:09:45 United StatesEnglishB&WMono4:3Video


Over a montage of family photographs, Freed’s narration questions the consistency of memory and self over time, with Freed displaying a quizzical and sometimes hostile relation to her past. In a manner that recalls philosopher Roland Barthes’s poetic unraveling of photography—in particular photography’s power to bind memory and desire within a still image—Freed attempts to uncover the “stranger” that is her childhood self and discover how her past has shaped her present.

“As Art Herstory was about time in history, Family Album deals with time in memory. Using photos and film footage from my past, I mix past and present and superimpose my then-present face over a photo of my childhood self. Time is arranged non-sequentially in the mind. Memories of relatives are brought in to contrast with my own.”

—Hermine Freed 

About Hermine Freed

Hermine Freed studied painting at Cornell University and New York University. During the late '60s she taught at NYU, working as program editor for an NYU-sponsored series on art books for WNYC. Assisted by colleague Andy Mann, she began using video to produce a series of contemporary artist portraits, beginning with painter James Rosenquist. Although the program did not meet WNYC's broadcast standards, Freed continued to produce the series, showing the tapes to her students and at other venues. In 1972 she was invited to participate in the groundbreaking exhibition Circuit: A Video Invitational by Everson Museum curator David Ross, whose encouragement led her to explore other aspects of the medium and produce a new body of work. Freed continued to produce both documentaries and artworks exploring female perception and self-image. Art Herstory (1974) was made while she was an artist-in-residence at the Television Lab at WNET. Freed taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1972. She passed away in 1998.