Chapter 3: Gaslit!: noun to verb, wall sconce (1944) and gas lamp (Bec Auer type 1946-1966) to Gossip Girl (2010)
March 19th through April 30th, 2011 (Saturday, 12 to 6 or by appt.)
C. Bass International Fine Arts Co. is an experimental commercial venture located in a small 1940’s storefront on Main Street in the art world “outpost” of Beacon, NY. Its projects encompass an interdisciplinary approach that references art history, cultural studies, material culture and popular culture.
The third project entitled Gaslit! presents the work of 5 artists, Jane Johnston, Circe Licsk, Holly Laws, Sanna Marander and Andra Ursuta. The verb “to gaslight” was coined based upon the1944 paranoid gothic woman’s film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman. The exhibition operates in the space between the use of the word as the title of a 1944 film and the contemporary use of the verb “gaslighting” derived from the content of the film and now popularized as a term in pop-psychology and popular culture.
1) In 1974, Lee Majors, as the character Steve Austin in the series The Six Million Dollar Man, uses the term in the episode entitled The Seven Million Dollar Man when he complains that his boss, physician, and a nurse are conspiring to convince him that something he’s witnessed did not, in fact, happen as he believes it did.
2) In the M*A*S*H season 3 episode from 1975 Love and Marriage, a Korean medic is caught with a forged pass. When Colonel Blake confronts Hawkeye and Trapper about it, saying that he saw the pass at the poker game they played the night before, Hawkeye and Trapper reply in unison, “What poker game?” Colonel Blake then asks Radar if they played a poker game last night, to which Radar responds, “If you sayso, sir.” Colonel Blake then says, “Oh, I get it. You’re trying to gaslight me, right?”
3) In the 2007 Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited the character Peter asks his brother Jack, “Could she be gaslighting you?” after he finds that Jack’s ex-girlfriend had stashed a bottle of her perfume in his luggage.
4) The term is also used in the 2008 season 7 finale of Law and Order: Criminal Intent where Detective Goren is warned by his partner Alexandra Eames that he is being set up.
5) In season 6 of Reno 911 from 2009 in an episode entitled Stoner Jesus, Deputy Travis Junior reveals to Lieutenant Jim Dangle that he is gaslighting Deputy Trudy Weigel.
6) The term has been used repeatedly over the past two years on the soap opera The Young and The Restless to describe the actions of Adam Newman by various characters. Adam is constantly accused of gaslighting Ashley Abbott concerning her miscarriage.
7) In 2010’s season 7 of the TV medical drama House, Wilson accuses House of gaslighting him into falsely believing that he’s allergic to his cat by sabotaging his apartment with ragweed in an episode entitled You Must Remember This.
8) In the 2010 mid-season finale of the TV series Gossip Girl, appropriately titled Gaslit a character manipulates one of the main characters, Serena van der Woodsen, into believing that she has returned to a life of drug abuse.
C. Bass International Fine Arts Co. 498 Main St, Beacon, NY 12508