Marjorie Keller, Daughters of Chaos, 1980 (still). 16mm film, sound, color; 19 min. Courtesy the estate of the artist
Experimental filmmaker Marjorie Keller produced a rich body of work that constructed lyrical meditations on female experience through radically nonlinear editing. In 1994, at the time of her tragic death at the age of forty-three, Keller had produced twenty-seven 8mm and 16mm films and left a significant body of writings that includes notes on a proposed study of women’s experimental cinema. Daughters of Chaos (1980) is arguably one of her most important films. Shot using a 16mm camera, the work explores female sexuality and coming of age by splicing together footage Keller shot at her niece’s wedding. A screening of Daughters of Chaos will be followed by a panel discussion on the legacy of Keller’s work and her unusual trajectory as an artist. Panelists will include artists Robert Buck, Alika Cooper, Cheryl Donegan, and Daphne Fitzpatrick, as well as film scholar P. Adams Sitney.
This event is organized on the occasion of “Cheryl Donegan: Scenes + Commercials,” an exhibition and a residency organized by the Department of Education and Public Engagement as part of its R&D Season: LEGACY, in which Donegan continues her exploration of the production and consumption of images in mass culture, middlebrow design, and art history. The exhibition presents works that span Donegan’s career, from the early ’90s to the present, tracing conceptual threads that run across her practice, including her interest in the mediated image, compressed space, and the mark’s indexical relation to the body. Throughout the run of the exhibition, the Resource Center will feature a major new installation by Donegan, titled “Concept Store,” that displays garments, drawings, prints, and textiles she has produced alongside items she has sourced from websites such as eBay. In this installation and the other works in “Scenes + Commercials,” the artist engages in a process of “refashioning the readymade” by alluding to longer histories of repurposing in both art and culture.