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.
Location: New York City
Artistic Medium: Sculpture, Performance, Video
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a Pisces and artist born in Newark, New Jersey. My work thinks through the relationship between Blackness, trans/gressive subjectivities, and ecology. In my recent work, I excavate residue from sites of loss within the African Diaspora: slave castles and sugar plantations in the Caribbean and American South; the archives of Black gay artists who died of HIV/AIDS; and a low-income residential building in West Harlem demolished by commercial developers. To borrow the words of Saidiya Hartman, “I am intent on tracing an itinerary of destruction.” Working primarily in sculpture, video, and performance, I am attracted to materials that are silent witnesses to the historical and ongoing dispossession of Black people in America.
What are the top three greatest influences on your work?
Black feminist and queer texts (Thomas Glave’s Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh), rhythm and blues from the 1990s, and mycelium.
Describe your coffee order.
Two creams and two sugars.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Giving myself permission to exist on my terms. Period.
What constitutes a perfect day?
Arriving from my dreams into a still and quiet morning; laying silently in bed for an hour after; having coffee plus an aimless walk down 125th Street and saying good morning to the people I pass; a few uninterrupted hours in the studio; a few hours in the library; a vogueing session with some friends; dinner and drinks with a good sis; and ending the night shaking my kitty kat to some Jersey club music. All done without answering a single email and little interaction with a phone or computer!
What was your favorite exhibition from last year?
God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin curated by Hilton Als at David Zwirner.
What would your superpower be if you had one?
Being able to articulate and express my feelings to others without speaking them.
What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?
The real story about why I use dirt and soil as my primary materials.
What is the greatest threat to humanity?
The systems of extraction and exploitation that undergird violences enacted on people and the land.
What did you make when you first started making art?
T-shirt and bandanas for friends who passed away.
What is your all-time favorite work of art?
Sula by Toni Morrison
What are your plans for pride month?
Avoiding and evading corporate-cis-gay pride.
What is the future of queerness?
Reparations for all Black people.
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?
How do you stay cool during the summer?
Rosé and a cute rooftop situation.
What is your favorite type of milk?
Yikes! We don’t do 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.
They Managed to Mess Up an Art Heist Movie
There must be a lesson in Vasilis Katsoupis’s film Inside about the vacuousness of the art market or the claustrophobia of exhibition spaces — I just don’t care.
Ten Painful Stories of the Dutch Colonial Slave Trade
The Rijksmuseum’s traveling show strives to remind us that we are all, in some way, a part of this chapter of human history, whose legacy continues today.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Textured Histories at Shiprock Santa Fe
The Santa Fe gallery features Indigenous textiles and jewelry from the early 19th century to today.
Renaissance Portrait of “Ugly Duchess” Likely Depicts a Man
A curator at London’s National Gallery believes the subject of painter Quinten Massys’s painting “is most likely a he.”
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Hokusai’s “Great Wave” Makes a Splash at Auction
An edition of the iconic woodblock print broke records when it sold for $2.8M this week.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?