Michelle Handelman

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Michelle Handelman
Born1960 (age 58–59)
Chicago, Illinois
EducationBard College
Alma materSan Francisco Art Institute
Awards2011 Guggenheim Fellow, 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow

Michelle Handelman (born 1960 in Chicago, Illinois)[1] is an American video installation artist, filmmaker, photographer, performance artist, writer and professor.[2] She is an associate professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and currently lives in Brooklyn.[3]


She received her M.F.A. in 2000 from Bard College[4] and her B.F.A. in 1989 from the San Francisco Art Institute.[4] She was an associate professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design from 2007–2013.[2]

Handelman's 2009 four-channel video installation "Dorian, a cinematic perfume" is based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.[5] It features the bio-fem drag queen Sequinette as Dorian, Armen Ra as Lord Henry, K8 Hardy as Sybl, Quin Charity as Basil and Mother Flawless Sabrina as Dead Dorian. It features music by Lustmord, Armen Ra, Nadia Sirota, Vincent Baker, and Stefan Tcherepnin.[6] "Dorian, a cinematic perfume" has been exhibited at Participant, Inc., NYC; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin; Guangzhou 53 Art Museum, China; Dirty Looks Screening Series and Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia.[4]

Handelman created the live multimedia performance, The Laughing Lounge for PERFORMA 05 the first biennial of visual art performance.[7] BloodSisters (1995) her feature documentary on the San Francisco leather dyke scene is distributed by the Tribeca Film Institute's Reframe Collection[8]

Handelman's fiction can be found in Coming Up, the world's best erotica (Richard Kasak books, New York) Herotica 3 edited by Susie Bright (Down There Press, San Francisco) and her article, The "Media Conspiracy Against the Developing Mind", co-written with Monte Cazazza is published in Apocalypse Culture 2 (Feral House Press, Los Angeles)[9]

Cannibal Garden was a series from 1998–2000 featuring series of video loops and photographs.[10]

Her work has shown at Georges Pompidou Centre, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; American Film Institute, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, MIT's List Visual Arts Center, and on PBS.[2]


Film & Video Installations Year Description Citation
Safer Sexual Techniques in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 1988 [11]
Homophobia Is Known To Cause Nightmares 1991 Experimental cut-up techniques [11]
Hope 1991 [11]
BloodSisters 1995 Documentary about leather dykes in San Francisco in the mid-1990s. [12]
CandyLand 2000 Part of the series "Cannibal Garden", nude artist lays on the floor, consuming crystal "candy" and spitting it out. [13]
History of Pain, A 2000 "An experimental narrative about the Spanish inquisition and how it still permeates our current psychosexual cultural milieu." [11]
I. C. U. 2000 Part of the series "Cannibal Garden", explores identity in digital spaces. [11]
La Suture 2000
i hate you 2002
This Delicate Monster 2004 Influenced by Charles Baudelaire's 19th century collection of poems "Les Fleurs dul Mal". Projections, live performances, and photographs were part of the multimedia presentation. [14]
Dorian 2009 Adapting Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" into a four-channel video installation with a queer, feminist point of view. [5]
Irma Vep, The Last Night 2014 Influenced by Musidora, best known for, Irma Vep from the 1915 film Les Vampires. [15]

Awards and honors[edit]

She is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow[2] and 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow.[16] In 1999 Handelman won the Bravo Award, Bravo television for BloodSisters.[17]


  1. ^ "Handelman, Michelle". the-artists.org. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Michelle Handelman". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. 2011. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ "Michelle Handelman". Fashion Institute of Technology. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Michelle Handelman". Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Art in Review – Sigmar Polke, Albert Oehlen, Michelle Handelman, Souleymane Keita, Dirk Skreber and Mary Mattingly". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. May 21, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  6. ^ LMCC (May 20, 2009). "Lower Manhattan Cultural Council – News – Story – Past Workspace Resident Michelle Handelman Solo Exhibition at Participant I". Lmcc.net. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "Michelle Handelman | The History Project". Experimentaltvcenter.org. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "Reframe | Bloodsisters". Reframecollection.org. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "Massachusetts College of Art and Design | Michelle Handelman". Massart.edu. Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ "This Delicate Monster Becomes Irma Vep: An Interview with Michelle Handelman". Rhizome. December 11, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Video Library". The Film Makers Cooperative. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Seid, Steve (May 29, 1996). "Blood sisters: leather, dykes and sadomasochism". Pacific Film Archive Calendar. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  13. ^ McQuaid, Cate (June 6, 2012). "Saliva flows, mud thrown in 'Pretty Ugly'". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 2, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  14. ^ "Exhibits at Rx Gallery". Rx Gallery. 2004. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Graves, Jen (July 22, 2015). "Michelle Handelman's Irma Vep, The Last Breath Adds Gender Subversion and Class Critique to a 100-Year-Old Anagram". The Stranger. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "New York Foundation for the Arts". NYFA. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  17. ^ Indiewire (October 25, 2001). "INTERVIEW: Barbara Hammer Teaches (and Titillates with) "History Lessons"". IndieWire. Retrieved May 3, 2017.

External links[edit]