High Line Art, in collaboration with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) on the occasion of their 45th anniversary, presents Your Plastic Video, a program of six videos by artist Cheryl Donegan.
Cheryl Donegan’s videos, paintings, and performances explore the politics and aesthetics of self-representation, notably through fashion and the use and depiction of the female body in art. With an interest in the role of surface in representation, Donegan juxtaposes clothing, advertising, and the body itself as tools for presenting and making pictures. Appropriating images and videos from sources including eBay, advertisements, and YouTube “haul” videos – clips made predominantly by young women showcasing the spoils from their latest shopping trips – Donegan collages together kaleidoscopic videos that are both provocative and humorous. The colorful, lo-fi immediacy of her works is underscored by many of their accompanying soundtracks, which feature bands including Iggy & The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, and The Ramones, among others.
Not exhibited since Donegan’s first solo exhibition at Elizabeth Koury Gallery in New York in 1993, High Line Art presents Guide (1993) and Sunflower (1993), two short works that showcase Donegan’s signature quick, gestural style. Filmed outside a gas station in Tennessee, Scenes + Commercials (1997) focuses on an uncut recording of the Beach Boys rehearsing “Help Me Rhonda,” including the overbearing demands of their father and manager, Murry Wilson. The video reveals the flawed and tense family life behind the idolized American dream promised by the band. Craft (1999) looks toward the art world, criticizing the romanticized vision of the artist as a master craftsman – as Donegan “crafts” images by biting through slices of Kraft cheese and white bread. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (2008) is, according to Donegan, a “tour-de-force of gab,” in which the artist recites verbatim a monologue by the character Viva from Andy Warhol’s 1967 film “Nude Restaurant.”
Finally, Donegan presents her VINES PROJECT (2015 – ongoing) in the form an iPhone screen shot of her VINE channel, YourPlasticBag. Visitors are encouraged to browse through the 6-second videos on their mobile devices alongside the formal screening, and to take the ever-expanding channel with them when they leave. Donegan’s interest in the lived experience of commercial culture continues in this series, which reflects her earlier videos, as well as her paintings and her recent clothing line.
Image: Cheryl Donegan, Craft, 1994. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.