Yvonne Rainer began making films after a career as a choreographer.
Her avant-garde films, as well as her theoretical work, involve issues of feminism, theories of representation and spectatorship, psychoanalysis, and the critical study of culture. In 1972, Rainer completed her first feature-length film, Lives of Performers. Her many films include Film About A Woman Who… (1974), Kristina Talking Pictures (1976),Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980), The Man Who Envied Women (1985), Privilege (1990), MURDER and murder (1996), and After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid (2002).
Rainer continues to work as an independent choreographer and filmmaker. She also conducts seminars for the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has been the subject of more than a dozen retrospectives hosted by such institutions as the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. Encompassing material composed between 1966 and 1997, a collection of Rainer’s writings entitled A Woman Who…: Essays, Interviews, Scripts was published in 1999. Her work is also the subject of the exhibition catalog Yvonne Rainer: Radical Juxtapositions 1961-2002 (2002).
Rainer attended San Francisco City College (1951) and was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962.