In the early ’90s, Harriet “Harry” Dodge was one of the founders of the now-legendary San Francisco community-based performance space, The Bearded Lady, which served as a gathering point for a pioneering, polysexual, queer literary and arts scene. During that time, Dodge also wrote, directed, and performed several critically-acclaimed, evening-length monologues, including Muddy Little River (1996) and From Where I’m Sitting (I Can Only Reach Your Ass) (1997). In the latter part of ’90s, Dodge wrote, directed, edited and starred in (with Silas Howard) a narrative feature film, By Hook or By Crook, which premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2002, and went on to become a cult classic, garnering five Best Feature awards at various film festivals. Dodge also performed in the 2000 John Waters film, Cecil B. Demented.
Ambivalent about the formal concessions involved with film industry viability, but still dedicated to exploring the possibilities for image and moving image, Dodge initiated a fine arts practice (sculpture, drawing and video) dedicated to exploring materiality, orientation, systems of representation, comedy, brutality, and resilience, with a special focus in-betweeness and the unnameable. Dodge has shown solo and collaborative work at venues including the 2008 Whitney Biennial; “Code Share: 5 continents, 10 biennales, 20 artists,” CAC Vilnius, Lithuania; the “Videonale 12,” Kunstalle Bonn, Bonn, Germany; “Slightly Unbalanced” at the Hartnett Museum, Richmond, Virginia; “Reflections on the Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video” at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art; “Unusual Behavior,” Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, “California Video,” Getty Museum, Los Angeles; “Laughing in a Foreign Language,” The Hayward, London; “Between Two Deaths,” ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; “Eden’s Edge,” Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; “Shared Women,” Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA; “Defamation of Character,” PS 1, Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY; Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY; Wallspace Gallery, New York, NY, among others. Dodge’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Dodge’s recent activities include a 2008 collaborative venture called TESTHOLE, which undertook a series of community-based, interventions/partnerships experimenting with human waste composting, decomposition and fertility in Los Angeles; a 2009 talk and video program at Light Industry in Brooklyn titled “Hooded and Headless: An Erratic Survey of Anonymity in Recent Video and Life”; in 2010 a curatorial project with Rachel Harrison for her show “Consider The Lobster and Other Essays” at the Hessel Museum; a forthcoming book of drawings; and a feature-length video titled Camp Is A Tender Feeling (2013).
Dodge lives and works in Los Angeles, California.