Barbara Hammer was a feminist filmmaker, visual artist, and lesbian activist with a career spanning over fifty years — constructing revelations on gender, sexuality, community, and later illness and mortality. She produced over 90 films, ranging from experimental shorts to essays, and full-length documentaries as well as performances, installations, photographs, collages, and drawings, that illuminate lesbian histories, lives, and representations. In her work, Hammer explodes traditional notions of female sexuality by showing it for what it is: complex, messy, abstract, human.
Retrospectives of Hammer’s films include Sisters! La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2020); Barbara Hammer: in this Body, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2019); Barbara Hammer: Boundless, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (2019); the Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Tate Modern Museum, London England (2012); Kunsthall, Oslo, Norway (2013); Toronto Film Festival (2013); and Pink Life Queer Festival, Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey. Recent solo exhibitions include Available Space, Company Gallery, New York, (2023); Tell me there is a lesbian forever..., Company Gallery, New York (2021); Hammer’s retrospective, Evidentiary Bodies, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York (2017); and Truant: Photographs, 1970 - 1979, Company Gallery, New York (2017). Hammer’s work was included in the 1985, 1989, 1993, and 2019 Whitney Biennials and is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Australian Center for the Moving Image, Melbourne. She is the author of Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, Feminist Press, 2009. In 2017 Hammer’s paper archive was acquired by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The same year she established the Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant.
Barbara Hammer was born in 1939 in Hollywood, CA and died in 2019 in New York, NY.