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100 Women We Love

photo by jim norrena
Barbara Hammer

It´s fitting that Barbara Hammer was born in Hollywood, but that´s where the similarities between her film oeuvre and Tinseltown end. The acclaimed visual artist, considered a pioneer of queer cinema, has created more than 80 moving image works over a four-decade career, beginning with experimental films in the 1970s that explored taboo subjects like lesbian sexuality and menstruation. ″I never felt like a kernel in a corn cob, but always different; and experimental film was the most different art form I could find in 1970,″ Hammer remembers. Her films Optic Nerve (1985), Endangered (1988) and Nitrate Kisses (1992) were chosen for the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennials, and more recently, Hammer was honored with retrospective exhibitions at MoMA, the Tate Modern in London, the Jeu de Pomme in Paris, and the Toronto International Film Festival. Her work has earned scores of prestigious awards from art institutes and queer film festivals around the world. Making avant-garde films about marginalized communities and cultures isn´t always easy, Hammer says, but she is gratified by her cinematic legacy. ″I saw a blank screen for lesbian cinema when I was studying film history and I decided to begin to fill it. Being a pioneer is great for career building, but I am so happy that the screen is full and overflowing today.″ -KL
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