Bedtime Stories

Barbara Hammer and Sam Richardson

“but touch touch touch touching      but think think think thinking”

Bedtime Stories at underscore presents Barbara Hammer’s 1988 trilogy of video work by the same name alongside a selection of photographs by Los Angeles based artist Sam Richardson.

The chosen photographs from the artist's personal collection represent a response to existent themes in Hammer’s rarely screened video. In both the video and photographs, daily rituals and fleeting moments of intimacy are elevated and complicated by the presence of the camera. 

A harness lies on a rumbled sheet. A dildo rests on the edge of the bathtub. Bodies of water capture and release us. A haircut becomes a site of renewal. Conversations float across hot tubs. Windows, doorways, and mirrors frame bodies in repose and in pleasure. The glowing green lights of the night club beckon. Join us, won’t you?

Participating Artists

Sam Richardson is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in photography, as well as video, sound and writing. She is based in Los Angeles, CA. Working in a documentary-informed practice, Richardson strives to unlearn, break open and find new ways of creating images that interrogate photographic relationships in the context of the body, trauma, community and connection. They utilize their work as a Crisis Counselor to survivors, abolitionism and personal history to enter her work with a practice of care and investigation into personal and shared experience. She has exhibited internationally and domestically, and holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from UCLA.

Feminist filmmaker and pioneer of queer cinema, Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) made over 90 moving image works as well as performances, installations, photographs, collages and drawings. In the early 1970s Hammer studied film at San Francisco State University. After seeing Maya Deren’s film Meshes of the Afternoon, she was inspired to make experimental films about her personal life. After coming out as a lesbian she “took off on a motorcycle with a super-8 camera” and in 1974 filmed Dyketactics, widely considered to be one of the first lesbian films. Hammer sought to deconstruct and disempower the narratives and structures that oppress women in general and lesbians in particular. From her earliest experimental work, her films are playfully and relentlessly challenging of accepted norms and taboos.

Co-curated with Sofia Theodore-Pierce.

Bedtime Stories I, II, III courtesy of the Estate of Barbara Hammer, New York, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York, and Sam Richardson, Los Angeles.

Exhibition support provided by The Open and Poor Farm with funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.