The screening with noted multi-media artist Sharon Hayes of her recent work Ricerce: Three took place in our Hunter North 502 screening room on May 8th. There were thirty to forty students and faculty including IMA students as well as attendees from media, film and studio art undergraduate programs. Sharon was introduced by Kerry Downey, who teaches in the Art Department here at Hunter.

The piece Ricerce was commissioned for the 2013 Venice Biennale. Based on Pasolini’s 1963 verite work Comizi d’Amore, it has not been widely shown. This was an unusual opportunity for our students to engage with a multi-media artist whose work has been featured at venues from the Tate Modern and the Guggenheim to the 2010 Whitney Biennial and Documenta 12 in Kessel. Ricerce, which features an extended interview with some 30 students at Mt Holyoke College in Massachusetts examining issues of feminism and identity, also addresses the role of the institution of higher education in framing discourse. Sharon was generous and thoughtful in the post-screening discussion.

This event was facilitated by Martin Lucas with IMA MFA candidate Kelly Spivey who did outreach and graphics, and brought in Kerry Downey from the Art Department to introduce Sharon as well as support from Gayathri Iyer and Peter Jackson.


Photo: M. Lucas


Ricerche: three uses Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1963 documentary Comizi d’Amore as the guidepost for a contemporary inquiry into the “sexual problem” in the United States in 2013. Ricerche: three, is an expanded interview with 35 students at an all-women’s college in western Massachusetts.

Using the container of an all-women’s college (with only 47 such institutions remaining in the US), Ricerche: three attempts to address the contradiction that such gender-segregated institutions are “behind” and “ahead” of the rest of society.

According to Hayes: Because many US-born women stopped being as interested in attending all-women’s colleges a few decade ago, these institutions have all had to make various decisions to maintain enrollment. The institution whose students I am interviewing made a commitment many decades ago to heavily recruit international women. Additionally, these all-women’s schools are always rumored about and fantasized about (in a sense) in the public imagination. In the past, people have seen them as a hot-bed of lesbian activity/sex/sexuality. Many of them also have a new task of accommodating students who decide (after enrollment) to change their gender from female to male. Thus the population attending the school exists on a much wider gender spectrum than the description “all-women’s college” can hold clear.


Over the past ten years, Sharon Hayes has been engaged in an art practice that uses multiple mediums—video, performance, and installation—in an ongoing investigation into various intersections between history, politics and speech. Her work is concerned with developing new representational strategies that examine and interrogate the present political moment as one that is always allegorical, a moment that reaches simultaneously backwards and forwards.

Hayes’ work has been shown at the New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Guggenheim Museum, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Art In General, Artists Space, Parlour Projects, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, and the WOW Cafe in New York. In addition, she has shown at the Tate Modern in London, Museum Moderner Kunst and the Generali Foundation in Vienna, the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin and in galleries, exhibition and performance spaces worldwide. Hayes’ work was shown in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial in 2009, the Yokohama Triennial 2008, Guangzhou Triennial 2008 and PERFORMA05. Hayes is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union.

For more information see: www.shaze.info

Sponsored by: IMA Program