Kiss the Girls: Make Them Cry

Dara Birnbaum

1979 | 00:07:00 | United States | English | Color |

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Feminism, Media Analysis, Video History

Using selected details of TV’s Hollywood Squares, Birnbaum constructs an analysis of the coded gestures and “looks” of the actors, including Eileen Brennen and Melissa Gilbert. Birnbaum exposes television as an agent of cultural mimicry and instruction. The actors’ expressions are far from valueless; they are the ideological content of such programming.

“As a result of the precision with which Birnbaum employs these allegorical procedures, we discover with unprecedented clarity to what degree the theater of professional close-ups on the television screen has become the new historical site of the domination of human behavior by ideology. Physiognomic detail and its meaning speak off… in the tape Kiss the Girls: Make Them Cry.”

—Benjamin H.B. Buchloh, “Allegorical Procedures: Appropriation and Montage in Contemporary Art,” Artforum 21:1 (September 1982)

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Wilkinson Gallery, Dara Birnbaum: First Statements and Then Some..., October 17-November 22 2009