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Cheryl Donegan and Melanie Kress
In Conversation

May 18, 2016 | 7:00 PM
Free Admission | All Ages


14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street


High Line Art will host a conversation between artist Cheryl Donegan and Melanie Kress, High Line Art Assistant Curator, on the occasion of Your Plastic Video, a series of six videos by Donegan on High Line Channel 14. Following the conversation will be a screening of the program’s videos.

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.

Your Plastic Video is on view from April 28 to June 29, 2016, daily beginning at 6:00 PM, in the 14th Street Passage. This program is presented in collaboration with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) on the occasion of their 45th anniversary.


Cheryl Donegan, Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, 2009 (still). Video, color, sound; 21 minutes, 7 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI).



Cheryl Donegan and Melanie Kress

Cheryl Donegan (b. 1962, United States) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions have been featured at the New Museum, New York (2016); Levy Deval, Brussels (2015); Horse and Pony Fine Arts, Berlin (2015); and Rockland County Museum of Art, West Nyack, NY (2009). Notable group exhibitions include My Crippled Friend, Canzani Center Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, OH (2013); Outside the Lines: UIA (Unlikely Iterations of the Abstract), Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2013); In Search of an Image, Kersgallery, Amsterdam (2013); 1993: International Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum, New York (2013); Paint Things, Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2013); Beside, With, Against and Yet: Abstraction and the Ready-made Gesture, The Kitchen, New York (2009); and Between Spaces, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2009).

Melanie Kress is a curator and writer based in New York. She is the Assistant Curator of High Line Art, the public art program presented by Friends of the High Line, and one third of the writing collective The Rare Element. In 2010 she co-founded the Brooklyn-based project space Concrete Utopia, of which she was Director and Chief Curator until its closing in 2012. In 2009 she was the recipient of a Curatorial Fellowship at the Slought Foundation. Her projects have been featured at organizations including Artists Space and Art in General in New York; Betonsalon, Paris; Schalter Projektraum, Berlin; and the Deptford Old Police Station, London. She holds a BA in Art History with a Concentration in Visual Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University and an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Program Partner

Celebrating their 45th anniversary in 2016, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world’s leading nonprofit resources for moving image art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of moving image art. EAI’s core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical media works by artists. EAI’s activities include viewing access, educational services, extensive online resources, and public programs such as artists’ talks, exhibitions and panels. The Online Catalogue is a comprehensive resource on the artists and works in the EAI collection, and also features extensive materials on exhibiting, collecting and preserving media art:


Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Additional funding is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Dorothy Lichtenstein. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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