Mary Reid Kelley: "You Make Me Iliad" | "Exclusive" | Art21

Episode #168: Filmed in 2011 at Mary Reid Kelley's home and studio in Saratoga Springs, New York, the video artist and painter discusses her video work "You Make Me Iliad" (2010). In researching the lives and experiences of women who lived during the first World War, Reid Kelley was struck by how few first-hand accounts she was able to uncover. By creating an imagined narrative involving a prostitute, a soldier, and a medical officer, Mary Reid Kelley attempted to reconstitute an experience that would have otherwise been lost to history.

In black-and-white videos and drawings filled with punning wordplay and political strife, Mary Reid Kelley presents her take on the clash between utopian ideologies and the realities of women’s lives in the struggle for liberation. Performing scripted narratives in rhyming verse— featuring characters such as nurses, soldiers, prostitutes, and saltimbanques—Reid Kelley playfully jumbles historical periods to trace the ways in which present concerns are rooted in the past.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Mary Reid Kelley. Special Thanks: Patrick Kelley. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

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