Watch: ‘Trick or Drink,’ a riveting video memoir by new Fine Art chair, Vanalyne Green


With today’s announcement of Vanalyne Green‘s appointment as chair of Art Center’s Undergraduate Fine Art program, the College unveiled a pivotal panel in a larger canvas depicting the program’s evolution. Green is an internationally-recognized pioneer in the feminist art movement, whose work has been shown at the Whitney Biennial, the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, where the above video is currently housed as part of the museum’s video collection.

“Trick or Drink,” which debuted in 1984, a decade after Green graduated from CalArts’ Feminist Art Program (spearheaded by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro), offers an intimate and provocative look at the different forms addiction takes on as it’s passed among generations of family members. Green adapted the video from a live performance she’d developed from autobiographical material incorporating her experiences growing up in an alcoholic household and her own battles with bulimia. “Truth or Drink” is the rare video work to be as heralded for its artistic achievement as it is for its therapeutic value to patients in hospitals and treatment centers.

This particular work illuminates more than a lifelong social justice bent to Green’s creative sensibility. It also offers a glimpse at how the Fine Art Department’s new Artmatters concentration — an interdisciplinary curriculum launching this fall emphasizing collectivism and collaborative projects in the public sphere — might manifest itself in the real world.

Green, a founding member of the pro-choice, pro-sex agitprop group, No More Nice Girls, expressed her kinship to Art Center’s trans-disciplinary approach to social impact creativity as follows: “This is an especially optimistic moment for education programs such as Art Center because of the unusual flexibility it offers to students to cross disciplines,” Green stated in her application for the position. “My goal is to support young artists to recognize their inherent interests and to strengthen their commitment to work through a program of experimentation and exposure to an international art world.”

Regarding the role she will play at Art Center, Green stated, “For some, making art and administrative leadership within an educational institution are inimical. To the contrary, I find pedagogy and program development to be intrinsic to the project of being an artist: they involve narrative, composition, architecture and art as a form of social energy. This idea of a porous boundary between practices originates in the unorthodox programs I was privileged to experience.”


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