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Guide to the Johanna Fateman Riot Grrrl Papers

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by M. Camille Lannan

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 21, 2022
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical Note

Johanna Fateman was born in 1974 and was brought up in Berkeley, California by parents Richard and Martha Fateman. She was close friends with Miranda July (née Grossinger) in high school, which she left after her junior year at age 17 to attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon for two years. During these years and a subsequent year after leaving college in Portland, Fateman and July collaborated on the writing and publication of six issues of a zine called Snarla, a feminist art project informed by and distributed through underground punk networks -- given to women at punk shows at 924 Gilman in Berkeley as well in Portland and in Santa Cruz, California where July lived for several years. It was also available directly from the two of them via mailorder for one dollar bill, and eventually from a few record stores and from Riot Grrrl Press. While attending Reed College Fateman met video artist Sadie Benning at a screening of her work at the Portland Art Museum.

At a Bikini Kill show at the X-Ray Cafe in Portland, Fateman gave singer Kathleen Hanna a copy of issue #1 (Snarla In Love). They became close friends and Hanna moved into Fateman's house, a punk feminist communal house called The Curse. They started a short-lived band called The Troublemakers with Molly McMahon (Molly Sixteen).

In 1994 Fateman moved to New York City to go to art school. Molly Sixteen killed herself in 1995. Fateman made the zine The Opposite, Part I in the summer of 1996. It was not formally distributed outside of New York City; it was given to friends and it was sold at See Hear on St Marks Place and Printed Matter. Later that year she produced  My Need to Speak on the Subject of Jackson Pollock, and  Artaud-Mania! which were only given to friends, teachers, and other art students.

After graduating from the School of Visual Art with an BFA in painting, Johanna worked as a studio assistant for artists Mary Heilmann and Billy Sullivan, and from 1998-1999 was the curatorial assistant at alternative art venue Thread Waxing Space. Also in the late 90s Fateman, Hanna, and Benning started the band Le Tigre and recorded their self-titled debut album. Benning quit the band in 2000 and JD Samson joined. Le Tigre had several more releases, toured internationally, and broke up in 2005. A film about Le Tigre's touring and performances from 2004-2005 was released on DVD in 2011.

Fateman has co-owned Seagull Salon in the West Village since 2006. She continues to write critically as well as write and produce music.