Tom Rubnitz, collected video works

22 rue de l'Échiquier

75010 Paris

+33(0) 658 17 71 53

Door code to enter:


(xv)       Tom Rubnitz                                                                   collected video works 1981 - 1992



              Goswell Road

              22 rue de l'Échiquier, 75010

              door code / code porte 16B35


Screening event, 11th January 2020

13H30 - 21H00


A one-day screening of the seminal video works of Tom Rubnitz (1956-1992). Rubnitz's films embodied the 80s downtown New York drag and performance scene for over a decade before his untimely AIDS-related death in 1992. Deftly parodying TV culture and fearlessly standing up to homophobic governmental policies, they draw us in with their infectious cartoonish sheen before getting under our skin and burrowing deep into our collective psyche.

I wanted to make things beautiful, funny and positive—escapes that you could just get into and laugh through. That was really important to me. I felt like good could triumph over evil.

Tom Rubnitz

His films star some of the scenes most talented and outrageous performers including The Lady Bunny, RuPaul, Sister Dimension, Hapi Phace, Tabboo!, Ann Magnuson, John Sex, Barbara Lipp, Quentin Crisp, The B52s, and David Wojnarowicz. 1989’s legendary ‘Pickle Surprise!’ found new life with the dawn of the internet in the early 2000s, becoming a YouTube classic, before taking over Tumblr, spawning countless reproductions and birthing an entire generation of video artists and YouTube stars. Our program of his video works ends with the last film that he made, in collaboration with David Wojnarowicz, ‘Listen To This’. The film remained unfinished at the time of Rubnitz’ death and is a scathing attack on the Reagan administration, that remains painfully relevant in today's contemporary political discourse.

Film program:

The Mother Show, 1981, 4m09
In collaboration with Barbara Lipp & Tom Koken
Chicken Elaine, 1983, 1m00
John Sex: The True Story, 1983, 4m17
Made for TV, 1984, 15m00
In collaboration with Ann Magnuson
Hustle with My Muscle, 1986, 4m00
Bump and Grind It, 1986, 3m15
The Drag Queen Marathon, 1986, 5m00
Wigstock: The Movie, 1987, 20m00
Undercover Me!, 1988, 2m00
Strawberry Shortcut, 1989, 1m32
The Fairies, 1989, 5m00
Pickle Surprise, 1989, 1m40

Summer of Love PSA, 1990, 0m30
Listen To This, 1992, 15m30
In collaboration with David Wojnarowicz

Special thanks to the Video Data Bank ( for their collaboration on this screening.