Sadie Benning Biography


Born into an artistic family, Sadie Benning was destined to follow in the family's footsteps. Her father James Benning was an avant-garde filmmaker and her mother an artist. She was born in 1973 in Madison, Wisconsin and grew up in Milwaukee. When she was only 15 years old, her father gave her a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera for Christmas. (brightlightsfilm.com) Unimpressed by his gift, Sadie didn't open the package until after New Year's and that's when the magic started happening. She began making short films in the privacy of her own bedroom using her new camera. Two short years later she came out as a lesbian. Many of her movies are coming of age stories about her own experiences as a young lesbian teenager. Most of them seem to have a diaristic feeling like the audience is looking into the mind of Sadie Benning. One of her first movies, Jollies (1990), was a complex description of her sexual awakening.

The movies she made with her Fisher-Price camera soon became popular. The images were flat, grainy and black and white but full of life. (eye.net) They were coined as "Pixelvision" videos, and Sadie was looked up to as a pioneer of "Pixelvision". She received a Rockefeller grant at 19 and by the time Sadie was 20 years old, her videos were being shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Last year, her video Flat Is Beautiful (1998) was screened at the Whitney Biennial. Sadie also made a video for the punk group Julie Ruin called Aerobicide.

At the ripe old age of 27, Sadie is looking into a new medium for her artistic side: rock 'n' roll. She has formed a band called Le Tigre with Kathleen Hanna, formerly of Bikini Kill and Johanna Fateman, a magazine writer. They released their first album in February of 1999 and they plan on recording a follow-up this year. (time.com) She currently resides in Tivoli, USA where she is still using her PXL 2000 to show the world just how creative a Wisconsin girl can be. (werkleitz.de)
--Alyssa Miklinevich, 2001

Sadie Benning