Laura Parnes, No Is Yes, 1998, C-Print, Camera by Laure Leber

Laura Parnes, No Is Yes, 1998, C-Print, Camera by Laure Leber

Nitehawk’s ARTIST FILM CLUB presents…
on Girls
Laurel Nakadate, Laura Parnes, Jennifer Reeder, Elisabeth Subrin, Janet Biggs
Curated by Jane Ursula Harris

Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17
Doors open at 8pm, films start at 8:45pm
Nitehawk Cinema’s downstairs/street level bar

We need to start a girl riot.  — Bratmobile member Jen Smith in a letter to bandmate Allison Wolfe (in response to the Mount Pleasant race riots in the Spring of 1991)

Watching ‘90s riot grrrl culture and its punk, DIY feminism continue to influence popular culture – think Pussy Riot, Femen, Girls Rock camps, MTV’s teen dramedy Awkward, HBO’s Girls – while spawning a whole new academic subdiscipline known as “girls’ studies”, I started thinking about the role of women artists in this legacy. In particular, I was drawn to the work of video artists whose aesthetic-narrative sensibilities I felt were essential to the political and historical evolution of said riot grrrl culture. Artists like Janet Biggs, Laurel Nakadate, Laura Parnes, Jennifer Reeder, and Elisabeth Subrin, all of whom inspired, and are featured in, Grrrls on Girls.

The program deliberately mixes seminal work from the early 1990s with more recent/current examples, alluding to the role of time and memory in artistic conceptions of girlhood as well as the impact of technological advances in the medium.  What it means to be a girl from a grrrl’s perspective becomes then both a personal and cultural exploration, representations of girlhood and girlishness conveying not just an age but an allegorical state of transition and resistance. In that sense the series is as much about how women artists as adults (and some as mothers) revisit and experience their inner girls as it is about riot grrrl attitude.

– Jane Ursula Harris


Laurel Nakadate, Untitled, 2010, still

Laurel Nakadate
Untitled, 2010 | 6:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3 | SD Video

Nakadate invited Porn Stars at a Los Angeles casting agency to read poems, written by the poet, Dora Malech, in order to audition for an acting role.


Laura Parnes, No Is Yes, 1998, Polaroid (still)Laura Parnes
No Is Yes, 1998 | 00:38:19 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video
Two 90’s riot girls from Brooklyn “accidentally” kill and mutilate their favorite alternative rock star. Enlivened by quick editing and MTV-style inserts, No ls Yes is a teen rebellion film reinterpreted for a gallery context that includes plenty of product placement.

County Down (still), 2012County Down, 2012 | episodes 1-3, 00:20:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video
County Down is an episodic live-action animation exploring an epidemic of psychosis among the adults in a gated community that coincides with a teenage girl’s invention of a designer drug. Mirroring rave culture and the unbridled optimism around technology during the 1990s, County Down presents a society so obsessed with novelty and consumerism that it euphorically embraces its own destruction.

PROGRAM 2: July 17

Jennifer Reeder, The Devil Inside (The Adventures of White Trash Girl part 1), 1995, stillJennifer Reeder
The Devil Inside, 1995 | 00:08:01 | United States| English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | SD Video
This tape is part one of a three part series that chronicles the adventures of a girl super hero named white trash girl who has toxic bodily fluids and a knack for disrupting polite society. This piece is a spectacle. It situates the erupting human body in the form of a female super hero as a place of power and resistance. This particular piece introduces White Trash Girl and reveals the origin of her super powers.  

Jennifer Reeder, Seven Songs about Thunder, 2010, stillSeven Songs About Thunder, 2010 | 00:20:02 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video  
When a young woman with remarkable and hilarious coping skills finds the dead body of a teenage girl in the woods she is forced to reconcile her greatest fear–her fantastically failing life. This is a dark comedy about a mother, a daughter, a liar and her therapist.


Elisabeth Subrin, Swallow, 1995 (still).Elisabeth Subrin
Swallow, 1995 | | 28:00 | United States | English | Black and White | video
Subrin’s award-winning, genre-bashing experimental narrative explores childhood disorder. 18 years later, it reads as an encapsulation of ’90s feminism, with riot grrrl gestures, pixelvisioned collage, and music by Julie Ruin and Thalia Zedek.

Subrin’s cross-texting Swallow portrays the artist as a young anorexic, bombarded by the contradictory messages of a malign culture. Personality disorders find their formal equivalents in a work that clouds the borders of the bio-pic, by shifting voices, legitimizing accounts, and skillful layerings of social history.”  – Steve Seid, Curator, Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley, CA. 


Janet Biggs

Airs Above the Ground, 2007 | 5:21 |United States | English |  color | 16:9 | SVJanet Biggs, Vanishing Point (video still), 2009.  Single channel video with sound.  Courtesy of the artist, CONNERSMITH., and Winkleman Gallery
Airs Above the Ground examines the performance of youth, equating age with pageantry and masquerade. Biggs suggests that girls are bound by social constraints that set some on a search for impossible perfection. 

Vanishing Point
, 2009 | 10:32 | United States | English |  color | 16:9 | HDJanet Biggs, Airs Above the Ground (video still), 2007.  Single channel video with sound.  Courtesy of the artist, CONNERSMITH., and Winkelman Gallery:2
Vanishing Point pairs Harlem’s Addicts Rehabilitation Center Gospel Choir belting out a song with motorcycle world record holder Leslie Porterfield speeding across the otherworldly landscape of Utah’s Salt Flats.  The video examines the struggle to maintain one’s identity and a search for freedom that can end in destruction or transcendence.



Laurel Nakadate is a photographer, video artist and filmmaker. She was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Ames, Iowa.  She received an M.F.A. from Yale University.  Her work has been exhibit in numerous galleries and museums including the Museum of Modern Art.  Her films have screened at numerous festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New Films and the Los Angeles Film Festival.   

Laura Parnes has screened and exhibited her work widely. Her solo exhibitions include; LA><Art, LA, CA; Alma Enterprises, London, England; Locust Projects, Miami; Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam. Netherlands; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, LA; Participant Inc, NY and Deitch Projects, NY. She has had solo screenings at the Museum of Modern Art; NYC, The Kitchen, NYC; NY, CATE 10 Year Anniversary, Presented by the School of Art Institute of Chicago and Video Data Bank, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago Ill; Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley Art Museum, CA; Vtape, Toronto and in a two-person screening at the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Parnes is a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow.

Jennifer Reeder is a filmmaker and visual artist from Ohio.  She constructs very personal narratives about landscapes, coincidence and trauma. screenings/exhibitions at: The New York Video Festival, The 2000 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Generation Z at P.S.1, New York; The 48th International Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy.

Elisabeth Subrin is an artist and filmmaker. She currently has two feature films in development with Forensic Films with support from The Sundance Institute, Creative Capital and The Guggenheim Foundation, and upcoming solo shows at Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and PARTICIPANT, Inc., New York, in 2014.  She teaches at Temple University and lives in Brooklyn.

Janet Biggs received her undergraduate degree from Moore College of Art, and pursued graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design. She has had solo exhibitions and film screenings at the Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Tampa Museum of Art; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; Mint Museum of Art; Everson Museum of Art;  Gibbes Museum of Art; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Linkopings Konsthall, Passagen, Sweden; the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Austria; and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia, among others.



Jane Harris is a Brooklyn-based writer whose writings have appeared in publications from  Art in America and Artforum to Time Out New York, and the Village Voice. She has also contributed essays to various catalogues and monographs such as Hatje Cantz’s Examples to Follow: Expeditions in Aesthetics and Sustainability (2010); Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art Carla Gannis (2008); Phaidon’s Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting (2004) and Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing (2005), Universe-Rizzoli’s Curve: The Female Nude Now (2004), and Twin Palms’ Anthony Goicolea (2003). She is currently at work on the book After: The Role of The Copy in Modern Art.  Ms. Harris is a member of the art history faculty at School of Visual Arts, and also curates (a recent exhibition, Crazy Lady, 2011, received positive reviews in Time Out New York  and Huffpost). She is the founder of the blog(zine),, and a sample of her fiction can be read at