Jaguar Mary, The Story of Color.jpg

sisters and brothers
Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor, Cauleen Smith, Ayanna U'Dongo
organized by guest curator Jackie Clay
Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

1717 East 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Visit the ICA site
April 22 - June 17

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in collaboration with Dirty Looks presents sisters and brothers, early works from videomakers Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor, Cauleen Smith and Ayanna U’Dongo. The works’ dates span from 1993 to 2001 a critical time for the medium–marking the ebb of magnetic tape video and rise of multiple forms of digital video–and the contentious term, “identity politics.”

sisters and brothers brings together a small group of works that cover a constellation of subjects: desire; expressions of power sometimes through the body, but also between siblings; sexual and gender-based violence; black masculinity; black femininity; butch as gender performed and as threat; “hard femme” as the nexus of pleasure and sexual desire.

Jaguar Mary, Smith and U’Dongo consistently engaged with the medium during this time and continue their practices as visual artists, performers, and writers.

Jaguar Mary, Armide 2000, video, 7:35min., 2000
Jaguar Mary, The Story of Color, video, 2000/18
Cauleen Smith The Message (Sapphire Tapes 1), video, 3:30min., 1993
Ayana U'Dongo, Edges, video, 4:50min., 1993

Ayana U'Dongo, Edges, 1993

 

Jackie Clay is the executive director at the Coleman Center for the Arts in rural west Alabama. A graduate from California College of the Arts with dual-interdisciplinary degrees, her intellectual practice centers on black visual culture. She writes and researches performance and video, particularly work by women from the late 1960s to 1990s.

Jaguar Mary/Jocelyn Taylor is a performance artist, glossolalia vocalist, filmmaker, and hoop dancer. Her specific concerns are black feminist discourse, questions of history and ritual performance in art. Jaguar Mary née Jocelyn Taylor was a founding member of the queer video artist collective, House of Color. In 1990, she co-founded the Clit Club with Julie Tolentino, a dance party focused on infusing identity politics with sex-positive lesbian visibility. Her films and video installations have been shown at MoMA, the New Museum, Deitch Projects-Soho, Johannesburg Biennale, Havana Biennial, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Jaguar Mary has an MFA in Film and Video from California Institute for the Arts. She is currently completing an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies as a member of its inaugural cohort at Pratt Institute. 

Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Her films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions. Studio Museum of Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum; Yerba Buena Center for Art, and the New Museum, New York, D21 Leipzig and Decad, Berlin. Smith was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Sacramento. She earned a BA in Creative Arts from San Francisco Sate University and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater Film and Television. Smith is based in the great city of Chicago and serves as faculty for the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.

Ayanna U'Dongo is a self-trained, experimental video artist that utilizes the medium to heal herself and others. U'Dongo began researching and working with video as a staff at Video Data Bank, Chicago. U'Dongo practice is influenced by George Kuchar, Marlon Riggs, Thomas Harris, Sadie Benning, and Jocelyn Taylor (included in the exhibition). Her explorations of sexuality, gender, and cultural identity are designed to provoke, explore, and celebrate the power of diversity, inclusion, freedom, and sacrifice.