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Screens Series: Dynasty Handbag


Dynasty Handbag, the alter ego of artist Jibz Cameron, is best known for her “falling-apart stand-up” shows, delivered in polyester suits, spandex leotards, and ripped pantyhose.

Cover Image:

Dynasty Handbag, Interspercial Dressing Room Videos, 2014 (still). Video, sound, color; 1:48 min. Courtesy the artist

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Ribald, absurd, and endlessly riveting, her vaudevillian interpretations of classic literature (“A Homo’s Odyssey”), morning talk shows (“Good Morning Evening Feelings”), and aerobic lessons (“Exorcise Class”) are, according to Cameron, ways to “combat the terror of being alive.” Dynasty Handbag assumes the trappings of femininity in configurations zany and over-the-top, garbling gender codes in outrageous formulations. Digressions, rhymes, and false starts riddle her one-woman acts, providing unexpected pathways into material taken from commercials, pop songs, and tidbits of art history. As cultural theorist José Esteban Muñoz writes, “Dynasty Handbag’s queer failure is not an aesthetic failure but, instead, a political refusal. It is going off script, and the script in this instance is the mandate that makes queer and other minoritarian cultural performers work not for themselves for but distorted cultural hierarchy.”

In this selection of videos, Dynasty Handbag models a series of coping mechanisms: she takes a vow of silence in an attempt to find serenity; she rejects a gluttony of breakfast options in order to prepare for the world becoming toast; and, in a makeup tutorial, she teaches viewers how to put their best faces forward for life under fascism.

Jibz Cameron (b. 1975) is a performance and video artist and actor living in Los Angeles. Her multi-media performance work as alter ego Dynasty Handbag has spanned years and been presented at such institutions such as MOCALA, PS1, Joe’s Pub, The Kitchen, REDCAT, The Broad Museum, Hammer Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art New York, among others. Cameron produces and hosts Weirdo Night!, a monthly comedy and performance event in Los Angeles.

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