Barbara Hammer was a visual artist primarily working in film and video honoured with a major retrospective at The Tate Modern, London for the month of February 2012. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented a retrospective of her films with 44 different films from September 13-October 13, 2011. In June 2012 her work was featured at a retrospective at Jeu de Paume, Paris.
Her work reveals and celebrates marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told. Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages an audience viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change. Her trilogy of documentary film essays on lesbian and gay history has received numerous awards: Nitrate Kisses (1992), Tender Fictions (1995), History Lessons, (2000).
The films A Horse Is Not A Metaphor (2009), Generations (2010) and Maya Deren’s Sink (2011) were awarded Teddy Awards for Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. HAMMER! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, a book of memoirs and personal film theory, was published by The Feminist Press, City University of New York. The Banff Centre Fleck Fellowship, 2011, assisted Hammer in completing Sea Change, (a poetics of the liquid state), a 5 screen interactive installation with surround sound that questions ways of thinking about the ethical self by foregrounding oil spill disasters.
She was represented by KOW-Berlin.