Joan Does Dynasty

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Joan Does Dynasty
Directed by
Produced by
Written byJoan Braderman
StarringJoan Braderman
Distributed byWomen Make Movies
Release date
Running time
32 minutes
CountryUnited States

Joan Does Dynasty (A Neopagan, Postsituationist, Socialist/Anarcho/Feminist Expose)[1] is a 1986 short film written, produced, and performed by video artist Joan Braderman. The video was directed by Braderman with her then-partner Manuel DeLanda.[2] It is not only a send-up of prime time soap-operas of the period, but also a skewering of the Reaganesque excesses of 80's popular culture in the U.S., examining the ways in which such iconic shows and other pop cultural objects functioned both as objects of desire and disgust.


Joan Does Dynasty is a comedic dissection of the classic television drama Dynasty.[3][4] In order to educate her audience, Braderman superimposes her body onto illustrative scenes from several episodes, including "A Little Girl" (s04e16), "Steps" (s04e19), and "The Verdict" (s05e06).[5] While the footage plays, Braderman performs a monologue that interrogates the style of the show, its characters, and plot points, as well as critiquing the show's representation of femininity, power, ethnicity, and consumerism.[6][7][8]


Braderman created the video in 1986 with the open media collective Paper Tiger Television.[9][10] In a research paper about Jewish second-wave feminism, Melissa Raphael, professor of Jewish theology at the University of Gloucestershire, quotes Braderman for reflecting on the female characters of Dynasty:[11]

These campy [TV] creatures have been interceding in my key personal relations for several years now. I assigned myself to watch the show, to see how the thing works. Why do a hundred million people in 78 countries welcome this department store of dressed-to-kill aliens in their homes every week?

Braderman's monologue was shot in front of a series of bluescreens, using mattes such as Mexican wrestling masks and dancing teardrops. These images from the shows were mixed with Braderman's performance of her original script, creating what Bob Reilly of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art calls "the post-scratch chroma-key switcher effects [Braderman] made famous."[12]


As soon as it premiered on Paper Tiger TV, the film was screened at many art venues, including the 1987 Whitney Biennial, the Edinburgh Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris, The Institute of Contemporary Art, London, and the Vienna International Film Festival.[13][14]

Village Voice critic Jim Hoberman said the film was "one of the two most impressive tapes in the video section of the 1987 Whitney Biennial".[15][16] Art curator Bob Reily remarked that: "few have matched the technique, bravery and humor of Joan Does Dynasty".[17] Political theorist Philip Green called the film a "wonderfully provocative video",[1] and feminist columnist Susan J. Douglas called it "a provocative and hilarious feminist analysis of Dynasty, including the catfight!"[4]

Cultural critic and feminist art historian Lisa E. Bloom wrote:[18]

Though Braderman might critique the ways that Alexis strategically deploys tropes of a traditional femininity as a means to obtain power ... the artist also identifies with Alexis as an example of an older woman who is sexual (something rare on network television), has younger boyfriends, and knows how to tell off the men.

While some critics welcomed Braderman's "mixture of contempt and glee" in her treatment of Dynasty,[3] others claimed that her fascination/repulsion with the show served in part, to reproduce the themes she attempted to deconstruct.[6] But Norwegian media scholar Jostein Gripsrud said the film was "a truly remarkable piece of what [Braderman] calls 'stand-up theory,"[19] and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer asserted that the film "has become the classic feminist performance video of the era".[20] The film has become a standard for college course syllabi in video art, media theory and video and film production courses.[21][22]


  1. ^ a b Green, P. (1998). Cracks in the Pedestal: Ideology and Gender in Hollywood. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-1-55849-119-9. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  2. ^ The Independent. Foundation for Independent Video and Film. 1986. p. 32. Retrieved 24 June 2018. The text of Joan Does Dynasty, published in the August/September Independent, ... was written, produced, and performed by Joan Braderman, who codirected and coedited the tape with Manuel DeLanda.
  3. ^ a b Rosenberg, Karen. "What's on the Art Box? Spins, Satire and Camp". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b Douglas, S.J. (1994). Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the Mass Media. Random House Incorporated. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-8129-2206-6. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  5. ^ Thomson Gale (2007). Video Sourcebook: A Guide to Programs Currently Available on Video in the Areas Of: Movies/entertainment, General Interest/education, Sports/recreation, Fine Arts, Heal. Gale / Cengage Learning. p. 1540. ISBN 978-1-4144-0099-0. Retrieved 24 June 2018. The feminist filmmaker superimposes her own image over scenes from the night-time serial, and unsparingly deconstructs the fantasies of capitalism, patriarchy and consumption.
  6. ^ a b Feuer, Jane (1995). Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism. London: Duke University Press. p. 145. ISBN 0-8223-1687-0.
  7. ^ "Joan Braderman: Feminist, Artist, Activist!". Moore Women Artists. Moore College of Art & Design. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  8. ^ Gaines, Jane (1992). Classical Hollywood narrative: the paradigm wars. Duke University Press. p. 289. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  9. ^ Chicago New Art Association; Pennsylvania New Art Association; Washington, D.C. New Art Association. New Art Examiner. Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. New Art Associations. p. 55. Retrieved 24 June 2018. Joan Braderman collaborated with the Paper Tiger Television Collective for Joan Does Dynasty, an attempt at humorous "deconstruction" in which the artist appears with scenes from the TV show; archly uninteresting, it quickly becomes an ...
  10. ^ "Joan Does Dynasty". Paper Tiger Television.
  11. ^ Raphael, Melissa (2015). "Idoloclasm: The First Task of Second Wave Liberal Jewish Feminism". In Langton, Daniel R. (ed.). Melilah – Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies: Atheism, Scepticism and Challenges to Monotheism. Manchester, UK: Gorgias Press. p. 110–121. ISBN 978-1-4632-0622-2. OCLC 956480801. Available online
  12. ^ "Joan Braderman – Joan Does Dynasty". Cinema of the World. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  13. ^ "The Arts for Television" (PDF). Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Joan Does Dynasty". Viennale. Vienna International Film Festival. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  15. ^ Hoberman, Jim. "Best of the Whitney Biennial: Joan Does Dynasty". The Village Voice.
  16. ^ Armstrong, Richard (1987). Biennial Exhibition. Whitney Museum of American Art. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-393-30439-8. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  17. ^ Riley, Bob (1989). "Comic Horror: The Presence of Television in Video Art". In Huffman, Kathy Rae; Mignot, Dorine (eds.). The arts for television. Tate Gallery. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  18. ^ Bloom, Lisa E. (2013). Jewish Identities in American Feminist Art: Ghosts of Ethnicity. Roman Imperial Biographies. Taylor & Francis. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-134-69566-9. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  19. ^ Gripsrud, J. (2003). The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies. Comedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-134-88490-2. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Joan Braderman". Video Data Bank. Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  21. ^ Campbell, P. (1996). Analysing performance: a critical reader. Manchester University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-7190-4249-2. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  22. ^ Rich, B. Ruby (1998). Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement. Duke University Press. p. 341. ISBN 978-0-8223-2121-7. Retrieved 24 June 2018.

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