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Shulie: Film and Stills by Elisabeth Subrin

September 12, 2010 - January 30, 2011


Artist Gallery Talk
Monday, Nov 8 at 1:00pm

Slipping between past and present as well as fact and fiction, Shulie (1997) is a shot-by-shot remake of an obscure documentary about radical '60s feminist Shulamith Firestone. Author of the treatise The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, Firestone was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967 when four male directors selected her as a subject for a film about the so-called Now Generation. Shot in the style of direct cinema, the original Shulie features Firestone discussing the limitations of motherhood, as well as racial and class issues in the workplace. The directors also filmed her enduring a humiliating critique by her art school professors. Thirty years later, filmmaker Elisabeth Subrin recreated the Shulie using actors in many of the original locations. The resulting film is a nostalgic and somewhat cynical reflection on the legacy of second-wave feminism. Subrin writes, “In the compulsion to remake, to produce a fake document, to repeat a specific experience I never actually had, what I have offered up is the performance of a resonant, repetitive, emotional trauma that has yet to be healed.”

The exhibition includes four new enlarged film stills from Shulie. These color photographs not only allow the viewer to focus on thematic details of the protagonist’s activities (commuting to work, creating art), but also formal details including 16mm film grain and video scanlines. Similar to the way Subrin’s film inhabits the fuzzy area between reality and fantasy, her highly mediated printing methods involve a complex layering of analog and digital techniques.

Elisabeth Subrin: Shulie Photographing Trash
Elisabeth Subrin
Shulie Photographing Trash, (from Shulie, 1997,
Super-8/16mm/video, sound), 2010
Digital C-print from 16mm
22 x 30 inches
Courtesy of Sue Scott Gallery
Elisabeth Subrin’s films have screened widely in the US and abroad, including solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and in group shows including The Whitney Biennial, The Guggenheim Museum, The Walker Art Center, and The Wexner Center for the Arts.

Shulie is presented in The Goodkind Media Center in conjunction with the exhibition Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism.

Elisabeth Subrin: Shulie TalkingElisabeth Subrin
Shulie Talking, (from Shulie, 1997, Super-8/16mm/video, sound), 2010
Digital C-print from 16mm
22 x 30 inches
Courtesy of Sue Scott Gallery

Media Programming is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.


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The Jewish Museum - 5th Avenue
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128