Instagram Mailing List

Join our mailing list

Barbara Hammer: Women I Love featured in Variable West's "Northern California Picks"

July 01 2022

Northern California Picks

Each week our regional Cliff Notes columnists May Maylisa CatAngella d'AvignonJasmine Jamillah Mahmoud, and Theadora Walsh pick the most exciting events and exhibitions on the West Coast.

Read on for Northern California picks from Theadora Walsh.
Barbara Hammer: Women I Love
Ratio 3 Gallery, San Francisco, CA
June 24 - August 13

Barbara Hammer looks at me with an earnest, exposed face photographed in the lower half of a vintage self-portrait. Or, her serene gaze goes through me to find her short documentary, MENSES (1974) hanging on an opposing wall, in which she and her friends are buying tampons and synchronously dropping eggs from between their thighs. The opening of Women I Love at Ratio 3 is fun. It’s calm. It’s the same day as the dyke march in San Francisco. Someone shows me a picture on their iPhone of Barbara in the nineties, riding a motorcycle during pride. Her partner Florrie’s arms are wrapped around her waist. It doesn’t feel like a structural attack on people who can get pregnant could have happened on the same day as this opening. But it has, and every few minutes we remind each other, unable to stop ourselves from attending to the American wound, from picking at its scarring damage. Hammer’s photographs are playful and flagrant and strategically dismissive of society’s mores. They are gaudy and self-satisfying and while I’m sitting in a dark room, watching Barbara simulate an orgasm from beneath a pile of books, I feel like it would be impossible to legislate a body. Then I pick off the scab again. Reflection: What are the politics of creating images of radical joy and pleasure?

Barbara Hammer: Women I Love featured in Variable West's "Northern California Picks"