Maiden USA is a series of multi-media projects that began as a “Reel Girls/Real Girls,” Kathleen Sweeney’s curatorial program which screened at the at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco in 1998. “Maiden USA: Representations of Teenage Girls in the 90s,” an analysis of the rise of teenage girl protagonists in independent films and documentaries, appeared in the Winter 1999 issue of Afterimage. The article served as the basis for a video installation and lecture at Summit 2000: Youth, Media and the New Millennium, a global conference held in Toronto in 2000.
Since 2000, Kathleen Sweeney’s Maiden USA lectures have been presented at colleges, high schools, galleries and media art centers across the country. With videos produced by teenage girls and an ever-evolving PowerPoint presentation of teenage girl icons from popular culture, Kathleen Sweeney’s improvisational talk covers TV’s Supernatural Girls; Neo-Lolitas; Sports Amazons; Geek Girls; Animated Heroines and the Girl Gaze beyond Hollywood.
Her Maiden USA lecture serves as an adjunct to artist residencies and video workshops with young women. In these creative process workshops, participants collaborate on multi-screen installations and digital video self-portraits, in a visual dialogue with pop culture icons, art history, photography, film studies and gender stereotypes.
Maiden USA: Girl Icons Come of Age, a book based on the lecture series, has been released in 2008 by Peter Lang Publishing! (www.peterlang.com).
Excerpts from the book have appeared in Afterimage: “Grrls Make Movies” (Fall 2005) LINK and “Supernatural Girls” (Spring 2006).
Maiden USA: The Lectures
Maiden USA: The Book
Maiden USA: Testimonials