The month of June is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community and reflect on the advances of queer people to strengthen civil liberties around the world, even in a moment of great political uncertainty. It’s also a good opportunity to spotlight the richness and diversity of culture we have within the community. Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one contemporary queer artist per day on the website and letting them speak for themselves. Click here to participate.

Carlos Motta, “Towards a Homoerotic Historiography # 7” (2013), based on a sculpture of the Tairona culture, pencil and watercolor on paper (courtesy of PPOW Gallery, New York)

Carlos Motta

Age: 41

Location: New York City

Artistic Medium: Interdisciplinary

Who are you and what do you do?

I am an artist interested in contesting dominant ideas about sexuality and gender. I make projects that look at the historical and contemporary processes that have engendered prejudice, hate, and discrimination.

What are the top three greatest influences on your work?

Cinema; conversations with queer friends, artists, and activists; and historical religious painting.

Describe your coffee order.

Iced almond latte.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

To be able to be a full-time artist and share my ideas about politics and culture, uncensored.

What constitutes a perfect day?

A sunny day where I can be in the studio without meetings or answering emails.

What was your favorite exhibition from last year?

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now)” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

What would your superpower be if you had one?

Make conservatives amnesiac about their own ideology.

Tell us a lie about yourself.

I have no opinions.

What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?

What do you aim at achieving with your work?

What is the greatest threat to humanity?


What did you make when you first started making art?

Self-portraits in drag.

Do you prefer spilling the tea or throwing shade?

Throwing shade.

What is your all-time favorite work of art?

Goya’s The Disasters of War series (1810-20)

What are your plans for pride month?

Remember where our movements began and try to recover their roots.

What is the future of queerness?

World domination.

Back in my day…

I wanted to be a dancer.

Name one guilty pleasure.


Greatest queer icon of the internet: Babadook, Momo, or a pervading sense of existential angst?

A pervading sense of existential angst.

Is there enough support for queer artists where you live?

New York has substantial opportunities for queer artists but not enough.

How do you stay cool during the summer?

Dip in the ocean.

What is your favorite type of milk?


“Queer Artists in Their Own Words” is an ongoing feature happening every day in the month of June. For prior posts in the series, please click here.

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Zachary Small

Zachary Small was the senior writer at Hyperallergic and has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and other publications. They have...