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    Barbara Ess, No Wave Musician and Photographer, Dies at 73


    Barbara Ess, a musician and photographer in New York’s no wave scene, has died, Artforum reports. Fellow Bard College professor Tim Davis confirmed the news on social media Thursday night (March 4). She was 73.

    Ess co-founded the all-woman trio Y Pants with Gail Vachon and Virginia Piersol in 1979. The band recorded one EP, 1980’s Little Music, with Glenn Branca before issuing their self-titled full-length in 1982. The group dissolved without releasing another album, but Ess continued to make music, collaborating with Branca in the 1980s and 1990s. She also performed with the groups Disband and the Static. In 2001, she released an album called Radio Guitar with filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh, and Thurston Moore’s label Ecstatic Peace released the project.

    Ess developed a career as a photographer in complement to her work as a musician and multimedia work on the publication Just Another Asshole. Much of her photography was large-scale pinhole works—a practice she picked up in 1983. A book of her pinhole work I Am Not This Body was released in 2005. Some of her later work examined surveillance at the border between the United States and Mexico. She joined the photography department at Bard College in 1997, where she taught throughout the rest of her life.





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