A Birthday Celebration for Doris Chase Painter, Sculptor, Film/Video Pioneer. Program Notes for Exhibition.

Publication TypeCatalog
AuthorsNesthus, Marie
SourceDonnell Media Center, NY, NY (2003)

Program notes for Meet the Makers series.

Full Text: 

The New York Public Library



 Organized by Donnell Media Center

 All programs held in the Donnell Library Center auditorium


20 West 53rd Street
(between 5th & 6th Avenues) ユ (212) 621-0609


  In four Meet the Maker programs in April, Donnell Media Center continues its celebration of the        80th birthday of Doris Chase, an artist who has been a pioneer in a surprising number of art forms.  Her nearly sixty-year career in art-making has been, to use her description, an "evolution, a growing - as a tree or a flower grows, one petal and then another leaf, and expands." Her works include painting, sculpture, sculptural collaborations with dancers, film/video art, film/video dance;     sculpture and video for children, video poetry, video drama, and video documentary. Her sculpture ranges in size from small to monumental, and in material from wood to fiberglass, steel, and glass. Her public art has been installed from Atlanta to Osaka (in addition to several public art works located in her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Her video art has been televised by Channel 4 in Britain and PBS in the United States.


  Ms. Chase will be present at all four screenings.


  The April 22nd screenings highlight Chase's work in a wide variety of media - sculpture, monumental public art, performance art, and documentary.


  The April 24th screenings highlight Chase's pioneering work in dance on film and video. 


  The Media Center's "Tape-of-the-Day" programs on both April 22nd and April 24th (presented continuously in the Center itself) will concentrate upon her remarkable collaborations with extraordinary dancers (including Mamee Morris, Sara Rudner, Jennifer Muller, Kai Takei, Gus Solomon and others.)


Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Doris ヨ Coming from and Going To Seattle


Full Circle: The Work of Doris Chase, video, color, 10 min.Directed by Elizabeth Wood, 1974

Circles II - Variation II, video, color, 14 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1973

Doris Chase: Circle at the Center, video, color, 28 min. Produced by KCTS-TV, Seattle, Washington, 2002

Danse de Colour, video, color, 12 min. (Directed by Doris Chase, 2002.)



The two documentaries on the work of Doris Chase in this program, made 28 years apart, demonstrate the ever-evolving nature of this unusual artist's career. Full Circle looks at an artist beginning to expand her horizons. Circles II, although a relatively early work among Chase's film/video dance creations, is a work of great accomplishment, described by critic Roger Greenspan as "at once delicate and massive," a "ravishing" visual experience. It is an early work in Chase's career as a video artist. In addition, it serves as a documentation of Chase's collaboration (as a sculptor) with choreographer Mary Staton and the dancers of the Seattle Opera Company. Circle at the Center is a television documentary of the dedication of a monumental sculpture in Seattle - a work of public art commissioned by that city to celebrate, honor, and benefit from the work of a favorite daughter. Danse de Colour, Chase's most recent video work is another ravishing study of color. It draws its extraordinary imagery from Chase's most recent sculptures - magnificently crafted of glass



Tuesday, April 22, 2003

(Continuous screenings)


The Doris Chase Dance Series


Tuesday, April 22, 2003


Doris Loves New York

Jessica Hagedorn and the Gangster Choir, video, color, 9 minutes. Directed by Doris Chase. Written and performed by Jessica Hagedorn.

Thulani, video, color, 8 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1984. Written and performed by Thulani Davis.

The Chelsea, video, color, 60 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1993


In 1980, Doris Chase began production on what would become her Concept Series. This series celebrated New York-based dramatists, poets, and Off-Broadway performers in the way in which her previous work had featured dancers and choreographers. Her desire to bring "the WORD into my abstract pieces," led to her cutting-edge collaborations with both established artists and young artists beginning what would become major literary and performance careers. Jessica Hagedorn and the Gangster Choir features the now-renowned novelist in a musical performance piece that seems intriguingly to be a sophisticated predecessor of hip-hop. Thulani presents Thulani Davis in a poetic monologue on the black experience, performing in collaboration with a jazz musician. The Chelsea is Chase's only documentary. When she moved from her native Seattle, Washington in 1972, she determined, through the toss of a coin, that she would live in the Chelsea Hotel. Over twenty years later, she produced this video on the famed institution that is her New York home.

Chase's long-term residence provided her with a circle of friends and acquaintances in the hotel, and opportunities for observation of many personalities just passing through, and gives her portrait a charming and casual intimacy.


Thursday, April 24, 2003


Doris - Envisioning Dance and Dancers


Moongates, video, color, 5 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1974.

Doris Chase, Portrait of an Artist, video, color, 28 min. Directecrby Robin Schanzenbach, 1984.

A Dancer, video, color, 28 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1989 Featuring Luise Rainer.


Moongates is an early example of Chase's video art, as well as another documentation of her work with the choreogrpher Mary Staton and the dancers of the Seattle Opera Company. Portrait of an Artist captures Chase in mid-career, and features excerpts from her work with several prominent dancers. A Dancer is a work in Chase's By Herself series. In it, she combined her exploration of video theater with her continuing interest in dancers. In the By Herself series, Chase looked at the lives of women as they age, addressing the issues that they face as their lives change. To do so, she

engaged a stellar group of actresses - here Luise Rainer, awarded Oscars for her roles in both The Good Earth and The Great Ziegfield.


Thursday, April 24, 2003

(Continuous screenings)


The Doris Chase Dance Series


Thursday, April 24, 2003


Doris - An Enduring Love of Movement


Dance Frame, video, color, 7 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1978. Performed by Sara Rudner; music by Joan La Barbara.

Jazz Dance, 16mm film, color, 4 min. Directed by Doris Chase, 1979

Doris Chase:Artist in Motion, video,color,28 min. Directed by Patricia Failing, 1991

Danse de Colour, video, color, 12 min. (Directed by Doris Chase, 2002.)


Dance Frame is the extraordinary video-dance that resulted from Chase's collaboration with Sara Rudner and Joan La Barbara. Jazz Dance features a lively dancer in silhouette and video-generated imagery interpreting a tune by Jelly Roll Morton. Doris Chase: Artist in Motion is the most up-to-date documentary on Chase's career, and is a companion piece to a book of the same title. Danse de Colour, Chase's most recent video work, is a ravishing study of color which draws its extraordinary imagery from Chase's most recent sculptures - magnificently crafted of glass.


This series, programmed by Marie Nesthus of Donnell Media Center, has been funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts

All programs subject to last-minute change or cancellation.