The Gund


Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley


Suzanne Bocanegra, Valley (stills), 2018 (detail). Eight-channel HD video (color, sound). 4:44 minutes. In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo: Carlos Avendaño, courtesy of the artist.

Information About the Event

On View

Buchwald-Wright Gallery, Free Admission


Suzanne Bocanegra


Daisy Desrosiers, Director and Chief Curator, The Gund


The Gund programs and exhibitions are made possible, in part, by The Gund Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.


Ohio Arts Council Logo

In 1967 Judy Garland was cast in the film Valley of the Dolls, a story of three women undone by drugs and stardom on Broadway in the 1950s. An amazingly gifted performer, Garland had been exploited since she was a girl by the entertainment industry. At this point in her career she was known to be unpredictable and painfully fragile. She was fired soon after work on the film began.

Some of the only footage that remains of Garland’s participation in the film are her wardrobe tests, in which she models her costumes for the film. These wardrobe tests have no script, no scenario, no song. The movement and nervous chatter are her own. Garland had performed professionally from the age of 2, yet in this footage she appears awkward and uncomfortable, and that awkwardness makes her feel authentic and vulnerable. With the help of The Fabric Workshop and Museum, I recreated this footage, casting eight strong women artists that I admire in the role of Garland. Performers include poet Anne Carson, choreographer and dancer Deborah Hay, artist Joan Jonas, singer Alicia Hall Moran, author and actor Tanya Selvaratnam, actor Kate Valk, artist Carrie Mae Weems, and ballerina Wendy Whelan.

After Judy Garland was fired from the film, she took her wardrobe with her. She wore them in her concerts until her death of a barbiturate overdose two years later, bringing long-lasting notoriety to the iconic late-1960s costumes.

— Suzanne Bocanegra

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Still from Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley, 2022, The Gund.

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Still from Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley, 2022, The Gund.

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Installation view of Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley, 2022, The Gund.

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Installation view of Suzanne Bocanegra: Valley, 2022, The Gund.