Pioneer Barbara Hammer Dies Aged 79

FRIEZE remembers the filmmaker Barbara Hammer, who passed away aged 79 and who also contributed to our journal issue AFTER DEREN, Vol 3 (2013).

“Barbara Hammer, the American artist celebrated as a pioneer of lesbian experimental filmmaking – with a formidable career spanning several decades – has passed away at the age of 79.

Hammer was born in 1939 in Hollywood, California. She first attended the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1961. She later studied film at San Francisco State University during the 1970s – around the time that she first came out as a lesbian, leaving her marriage, and taking off on a motorcycle with a Super-8 camera. (…)”

Hammer was the only female student when she studied film, and seeing the work of Maya Deren was a huge inspiration for her. Visual references to Deren’s work can be found in her work, and she also made a film dedicated to Deren entitled Maya Deren’s Sink.  With regards to this film Barbara Hammer wrote:

“It seems so right that I return to Deren and her homes to access the private spaces known only through her films. I hope to ‘open doors’ for others who may not know her work so well. By re-projecting the architectural details from her films back onto the ceilings, walls, floors, cabinets and windows of her homes I call forth her creative spirit and invite viewers, who like me, might have a similar driving curiosity to visit and walk inside the homes where Deren scripted, shot, edited, and projected her films.”

Barbara Hammer’s bountiful energy, positive approach and courage will be missed very much.

 

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