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.
Michèle Pearson Clarke
Location: Toronto, Canada
Artistic Medium: Photography and Film
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m an artist, writer, part-time educator, and ongoing work-in-progress. I’m from Trinidad but have been living in Canada since emigrating here in 1992. And as of a few months ago, I’m the city of Toronto’s second Photo Laureate. My work is concerned with holding space for grief and loss, and considering the personal and political possibilities of these emotional experiences that we all have, but are told we shouldn’t talk about.
What are the top three greatest influences on your work?
Grieving my mother, Tina Campt’s theorizing of photography, and Black and queer folks’s daily theorizing of our lives.
Describe your coffee order.
Black with just enough almond milk to take the edge off.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
The small contributions I make to other people’s healing.
What constitutes a perfect day?
A strong coffee, a long walk, a new experience to satisfy my curiosity, and good food and conversation. Bonus points if that walk is somewhere out in nature.
What was your favorite exhibition from last year?
Rosalind Fox Solomon at Stephen Bulger Gallery.
What would your superpower be if you had one?
Tell us a lie about yourself.
I don’t cry easily.
What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?
What is up with your obsession with repetition?
What is the greatest threat to humanity?
What did you make when you first started making art?
I made relationships with people who gave me the permission I needed to make art.
Do you prefer spilling the tea or throwing shade?
Throwing shade as subtly as possible.
What is your all-time favorite work of art?
Marlon Riggs’s Tongues Untied.
What are your plans for pride month?
Balancing my disgust for corporate expressions of pride with my utter joy for being a part of this complex, messy, beautiful queer family.
What is the future of queerness?
Hopefully what it has always been: possibility and permission for other ways of being in the world.
Back in my day…
I knew less than I know now.
Name one guilty pleasure.
Condensed milk and cheddar cheese sandwiches, on white bread only.
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?
We are always expected to do more with less, so no.
How do you stay cool during the summer?
With a cold beer on Toronto’s naked beach.
What is your favorite type of milk?
The type that has been turned into ice cream.
“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.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
Quiet Paintings at a Time of Sensory Overload
Where Kim Mikyung’s process suggests an obsessive burrowing into the self, Kim Hyung-dae casts his gaze upward and outward into the sky.
Is the “Free the Nipple” Movement Too White?
Online representations of the activists lean White and thin, creating an image problem for the movement.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
New “We ❤️ NYC” Campaign Misses the Mark
The recently unveiled design is meant to live alongside the iconic original and specifically address the city, but New Yorkers are not happy.
1,000+ Objects at The Met Linked to Antiquities Smugglers
A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed hundreds of works once owned by people accused of or convicted of antiquities crimes.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Offers Summer Art and Design Courses Online and On-Campus
Emerging and established artists can choose from over 50 Adult Continuing Education courses at one of the most influential art and design schools in the US.
Lunar Bead Necklace and Asteroid “Emoji” Head to Auction
Christie’s bizarre sale features other space rocks propped up on stands like sculptures.
Scientists Create the First Full Brain Map of a Fly
The achievement is a giant step toward understanding human neural networks.
IDSVA Offers a Non-Studio PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory
With no campus, the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts is a truly nomadic institution, existing everywhere our students and faculty are.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Closes Over Climate Protest
The institution shuttered in advance of an action planned for the 33rd anniversary of its infamous art heist.
Remembering the Migrants Who Died in US Detention
Artist Jackie Amézquita will lead a caravan of trucks with the names of the deceased to LA sites representing systems of oppression and solidarity for immigrants.