In Loving Memory of Dara Greenwald
In Loving Memory of Dara GreenwaldDate posted: 2012-01-25 11:22:31
Dara Greenwald--artist, curator, activist, writer, member of the Just Seeds Collective, and Rensselaer doctoral candidate in the Arts Department--died on January 9, 2012 from cancer. She was 40 years old. Known both in art and activist communities internationally, Dara produced a diverse body of work, which included videos and performances, as well as a variety of individual and collaborative projects.
From 1998-2005, Dara worked as the Distribution Manager, at the Video Data Bank (VDB) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (one of the leading video art distribution companies in the U.S.). As a result of this position, Dara attended many video festivals, met with numerous artists, and amassed a wealth of information on contemporary video art and art history. She was single-handedly influential in salvaging the archival collection of videotapes for Videofreex, one of the most important independent video collectives in the 1970s. As a feminist and media maker, Dara understood the importance of these media art histories and has written and lectured extensively on their historical and social significance. These experiences and her continued art practice and conference/lecture participation contributed to Dara being a knowledgeable and sophisticated artist and theorist. Dara completed two MFAs, one in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2003) and another in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer (2007).
Dara's work, from a broad perspective, can be described as pre-figurative, and, in this sense, was a medium for imagining ways to encourage and activate social transformation. Her videos dealt with topics that ranged from documentaries about Barcelona squatters to rewriting local histories. She maintained several websites, including http://daragreenwald.com/ and www.samarasproject.net. Her engagement with local communities was key to her activities. In 2007, Dara organized InterAct Troy, the first re-skilling festival for the neighborhood and youth at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. With other artist/activists, Dara participated in Troy's 2005 Victorian Stroll, but they performed as often overlooked actors of this history, the laborers and working-class who built the city. One of her most ambitious collaborative projects was Spectres of Liberty Street, created with Olivia Robinson and Josh MacPhee in 2008, which was an inflatable life-size recreation of the Liberty Street Presbyterian Church in Troy, NY—an important meeting place for the Underground Railroad in the 1840s. Another major project was the groundbreaking exhibition and catalogue Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960 to Now. Originally presented at Exit Art, New York in 2008, the show then travelled to several other venues, including the Arts Center of the Capital Region in 2009. Co-curated and co-edited with Josh MacPhee, and produced with Exit Art directors and curators, this was an inspiring collection of posters, prints, photographs, video, film and ephemera, documenting four decades of progressive social actions and art from around the world.
Dara's presentation at the Creative Time Summit.
Dara will be remembered for her vision, her teachings, her exuberant spirit, her aesthetic innovation, her commitment to activism and questioning the status quo, her faith in the power of artists to create social change, and all that she contributed to the Rensselaer and local communities. Dara Greenwald is survived by her partner and frequent artistic collaborator, Josh MacPhee, her mother and father Betty and Harvey Greenwald, and her sisters, Suma Greenwald and Cora Foxx.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the archive being established for the
preservation and publication of Dara Greenwald's work. Donations can be sent to Josh MacPhee, 397 4th Avenue #6, Brooklyn, NY 11215 or on line: http://healdarag.org/donate-2