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Pat Hearn and Shelley Lake studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the late 1970s, and formed part of a group of casual collaborators often referred to as the Boston School. Their collaborative video work Seizure (1980) was made shortly after leaving art school, before Hearn became one of the most inﬂuential American gallerists and art dealers in New York during the 1980s. The video shows her in make up, dancing naked and holding a strobe light in a New York loft space, experimenting with the new ‘portapak’ video technology and with representations of her own body.
Half way through the session, Hearn suffers an unexpected epileptic ﬁt, brought on by the strobe. The rest of the video captures the ambulance crew and paramedics attending Hearn at the scene and the subsequent brain scans she received at the hospital. Hearn and Lake ﬁrst exhibited Seizure at Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) at MIT in 1980. That year Lake relocated to Los Angeles, while Hearn moved to Paris at the beginning of 1981.
Pat Hearn (born 1955, Providence, USA) opened the Pat Hearn Gallery on Avenue B and Ninth Street in November 1983, later relocating to various different areas of New York City just before they became popular hot spots for artistic activity. Operating at the cutting edge of visual art, she became a formative part of the cultural scene of the time, and was the subject of portraits by Mark Morrisroe and Andy Warhol. Hearn died in 2000 aged 45. Lake (born 1954, Miami Beach, USA) graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in Visual Studies in 1979. Since then she has exhibited proliﬁcally on an international level. She owns and operates Sky Lake Studios, a computer graphics facility in Florida.
Seizure, 1980. Stills from VHS, Image courtesy of The Kitchen Gallery.