February 25th to March 18th, 2011

Martha Rosler: Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained
Lisa Steele: A Very Personal Story

Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature
Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond

Gallery Hours: Sunday to Friday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm


Image: Martha Rosler, “Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained,” 2002.
Courtesy Video Data Bank, Chicago.

Text: VDB online catalogue: http://www.vdb.org.
Reprinted with permission by VDB.


Martha Rosler:
Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained

40:00, 1977, USA

Taking aim at the social standardization enforced on women’s bodies, Rosler critiques the politics of “objective” or scientific evaluation that result in the depersonalization, objectification, and colonization of women. As Joseph Di Mattia has pointed out, “The title of the tape is ironic—just exactly to whom are these ‘statistics vital?’ They are vital to a society which circumscribes the behavior and roles of women.” Throughout this tape Rosler situates the female body as the site of an ideological struggle, a site of physically realized domination, which degrades, demeans, and subjugates women.

Biography: Since the early 1970s, Martha Rosler has used photography, performance, writing, and video to deconstruct cultural reality. Avoiding a pedantic stance, Rosler characteristically lays out visual and verbal material in a manner that allows the contradictions to gradually emerge, so that the audience can discern these disjunctions for themselves. By making her ideas accessible, Rosler invites her audience to re-examine the dynamics and demands of ideology, urging critical consciousness of the individual compromises exacted by society, and opening the door to a radical re-thinking of how cultural “reality” is constructed for the economic and political benefit of a select group.

Image: Lisa Steele, “A Very Personal Story,” 1974.
Courtesy of Vtape, Toronto.

Text: Vtape online catalogue: http://www.vtape.org.
Reprinted with permission by Vtape.

Lisa Steele: A Very Personal Story
20:00, 1974, Canada

“When I was 15, I came home from school to find my mother dead. This tape describes the day of her death. Until I did this tape, I had never completely recounted this experience. The tape is an attempt to remember as accurately as possible one day in my life - to let memory become the present tense.”–Lisa Steele

Biography: Steele’s videotapes have been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally including: the Venice Biennale (1980), the Kunsthalle (Basel), the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). She is a founding director of Vtape, a national information and distribution service for independent video, and a founding publisher and editor of FUSE magazine. Steele has published numerous articles, as well as catalogue essays on photographers Bonnie Donohue (Boston) and Pamela Harris (Toronto) and video artists Vera Frenkel (Toronto), Ardele Lister (New York), and John Orentlicher (Syracuse, NY). In 1996, she co-edited with Peggy Gale, the book VIDEO re/VIEW: the (Best) Source For Critical Writings On Canadian Artists’ Video, published by Art Metropole and Vtape. Since 1983, Steele has worked exclusively in collaboration with Kim Tomczak, producing videotapes, performances and photo/text works.