The Failure to Assimilate: The Video Works of Cecilia Dougherty | Chicago Reader

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A program of four videos by New York artist Cecilia Dougherty. The three most recent—My Failure to Assimilate (1995), The Dream and the Waking (1997), and Laurie (1998)—use spoken words, superimposed titles, and apparently offhand imagery to deal, often movingly, with drug addiction and mental illness. Dougherty's women speak in fragments, the printed texts are sometimes fragmented as well, and the woman in Laurie appears in repeated, almost claustrophobic close-ups that convey a discomfort with the body and a loss of boundaries. There's also a consistent lesbian theme, and the humorously deadpan Grapefruit (1989) casts women as the Beatles, the stylishly slow pace adding to the absurdity of a female Lennon and McCartney arguing over Yoko Ono.

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