Video artist and filmmaker Courtney Harmel was a key player in New York's downtown video scene, producing work that documented the ‘No Wave’ retail and performance culture of the mid-1980s.
Covering legendary theme nights such as the "Andy and Edie Show," "Mermaids on Heroin," "The June Brides Show," "Disco Hospital," and the "Fellini Party," at places like Fiorucci, Danceteria, the Pyramid Club, and Limelight, Harmel produced an indelible record of a creative community at play in the darkening shadow of AIDS.
The performers and artists in her work are Joey Arias, Charles Busch, Alexis del Lago, Divine, John "Lypsinka" Epperson, Tony Frere, Keith Haring, Grace Jones, John Kelly, Tanya Ransom, Gerard Little, Ann Magnuson, Wendy Wild, John Sex, Andy Warhol, and Madonna.
A program of her videos of performance and fashion from the 1980s in downtown New York was in the "Club 57" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Her work is in the museum’s permanent collection. She has an extensive archive of videos and ephemera of the downtown New York pop cultural scene from the 1980s through the 2000s.
In the mid-1990s, Harmel produced video content for some of the first websites developing interactive net-TV including pseudo.com and Russell Simmons' 360hiphop.com.
Harmel has contributed to documentaries including the award-winning “Tibet in Song” by filmmaker Ngwang Choephel, “Mr. Prince” a documentary about producer and director Harold Prince for Ovation TV, “Design is One” a documentary about the designers Lella & Massimo Vignelli.