In Poorly Watched Girls, New York-based artist Suzanne Bocanegra (born 1957) explores the ways that popular entertainment theatricalizes women in trouble. For the immersive video Valley, she recreated Judy Garland’s wardrobe test for Valley of the Dolls (1967). Garland was fired from the film but famously kept the clothing from the test. Here, eight notable women wear replicas of the wardrobe: poet Anne Carson, choreographer Deborah Hay, artist Joan Jonas, singer Alicia Hall Moran, author and actor Tanya Selvaratnam, actor Kate Valk, artist Carrie Mae Weems and ballerina Wendy Whelan. Dialogue of the Carmelites, inspired by Poulenc’s 1956 opera based on the true story of a convent of nuns executed during the French Revolution, incorporates music by composer David Lang, performed by Caroline Shaw. In La Fille, Bocanegra uses theatrical sets, costumes and collage to capture the essence of the 18th-century ballet La Fille mal Gardée (The Poorly Guarded Girl), a comic portrayal of young love between two peasants.
Suzanne Bocanegra: Poorly Watched Girls
Foreword by Susan Lubowsky Talbott
Interview by Hal Foster
About the Author
Suzanne Bocanegra is an artist living and working in New York City. A recipient of the Rome Prize, she has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her recent work involves large-scale performance and installation, frequently translating two-dimensional information, images and ideas from the past into three-dimensional scenarios for staging, movement, ballet, and music. Bocanegra's work has been presented in the United States and abroad, in such venues as Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Serpentine Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Hayward Gallery in London. Her theatrical, video and film work has been presented at the Bang on Can Festival, the New Haven Festival of Art and Ideas, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and as part of the Wordless Music series in New York.