Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wild Women Surrender

In 1986 an opportunity to put together an installation show in a former motel’s five rooms ended up in my lap. I had not worked in the entertainment installation format often but decided to “give” my rooms to four other artists under the theme Wild Women.
The premise of the theme was to pick an aspect of the female psyche expressing itself when going wild, meaning free from restraint. What happens?
Each woman (Anna Banana, Donna Mae Shaver, Doris Boris Berman, and Susan K) chose a different aspect that included sexual wildness, spiritual practice, back to the earth connection, political activist, and emotional purge. Her room was to reflect her chosen theme and the artist had to interact with the installation in some way on opening night. Each of the artists had a wild side to their personalities making them a good mix.

It was a successful turn out at the opening and many people grasped the concepts, especially the women. One budding writer (male) however did not like/understand it all even leaving out one installation completely in his review. Too bad! 

But the news I want to get to is something I learned this week. Two of the women died who were in that show, caught by cancer. That’s a high percentage. Donna Mae Shaver (Montgomery) January 9, 2010 and Doris Boris Berman May 10, 2015. To learn of two in one week rocked my world a bit.
Donna Mae
Donna Mae was a photographer and worked in other media as well, became a part of the neo-Dada scene in the Bay Area, showing her work in a gallery during the Inter DADA 84 week and participating in a photo group. I did not know her well but her art was always well made and quirky in a memorable way.
Peter Kaufmann artist
I knew Austrian Doris Boris much better especially in the early 80s. Another photographer, she showed her work at my space The Storefront and other spaces we both participated in. According to her obituary she grew up in Salzburg (in her family’s castle) and achieved recognition as a recording artist under the name Isabell Domin. To pursue her career as a multi-media artist she moved to the United States.
Photo of Ginny by Doris Boris
We were both fans of Nina Hagan and Doris Boris could do a great impersonation of her. We clubbed together in Berlin (most memorable was the Cave an old cavern wine cellar type place) with friends while I was there on my way to Poland, staying at an apartment with a European prince she knew. She took me for my first exposure to a massive anti-American demonstration, with the black ski masks and burning effigies. I was under strict instruction to watch but not speak for my safety.
Art by Doris Boris
The Berlin wall had not been knocked down yet and the mood in the city was bleak. I went over to East Germany one day to visit the Rehfeldts accompanied by Doris Boris as far as a bar on the East side. We sat for awhile to people watch the fascinating comings and goings through the checkpoint.
 “She was equally at home in San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Paris. A real pop princess her vitality and creativity touched many lives.”

In 2008 her friend Perry Vasquez produced a documentary film, Fotoaktion! about her life and work. If you like performance art there's some interesting info. Can you find me in the video?