Photographer Dona Ann McAdams discusses her life and work with Marlboro College Professor of American Studies Kate Ratcliff. This talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Dona Ann McAdams: Performative Acts, a retrospective of four decades of McAdams’ work curated by John Killacky, on view at BMAC from June 22 to September 23.
In the mid-1970s, McAdams was inspired by her friendship with civil rights icon Harvey Milk to use her camera to encourage social change. McAdams photographed the “NEA Four,” performance artists whose work became the focus of conservative outrage in the early 1990s. She has also photographed anti-nuclear protests, AIDS activists, people living with schizophrenia, nuns from St. Mary’s Convent, backstretch workers at a Saratoga Springs race track, and working farm animals.
A longtime New York City resident, McAdams now lives on a goat farm in Sandgate, Vermont, with her husband, the writer Brad Kessler.
Kate Ratcliff teaches American Studies and Gender Studies at Marlboro College, where she helps students to engage critically with the concept of “America” and with the diversity of the American experience, especially in terms of race, ethnicity, class, and gender.