Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
The month of June is a time to celebrate LGBTQ communities. It’s a moment to reflect on the rich history and culture of the queer community, as well as more recent advances made in the realm of civil liberties. This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many queer individuals are navigating greater risks to their health, safety, and livelihoods.
Cognizant of the need to stay connected and elevate queer voices amid uncertainty, Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one queer art worker per day on our website and asking them to reflect on what this time means to them. If you identify as a queer art worker, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to learn more about how to participate.
* * *
What’s your name?
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Rivera
Where are you based currently?
San Francisco, CA
Describe who you are and what you do.
I’m a designer, educator, and curator who combines anti-colonial, community-based knowledge with site-specific installations and graphic design to create visual narratives that honor ancestral practices, decenter Eurocentric perspectives, and propose new autonomous futures.
Tell us about your greatest achievement or something you’ve done lately that you’re proud of.
My greatest achievement is being able to open up spaces for my students to understand and be proud of the complexity of their identities through graphic design. Something that I’ve done lately that I’m proud of is start a decolonial book/film club through which a group of 10 queers will meet monthly to read, watch, talk, and learn about decolonial practices.
Favorite ways to celebrate your queerness and community?
First, cooking and sharing it with my friends. Second, dancing and singing and more dancing.
What’s been top of mind for you lately?
How do we create a real sense of community virtually? Is that even possible?
Talk to us about your immediate queer community/support systems. (Feel free to shout out other folks or organizations you think are doing important work.)
My roommate, Marcela Pardo Ariza, an amazing artists who is always creating work to uplift and celebrate the kinship amongst the queer community in the Bay Area. My partner, Felipe Garcia Jr., a bartender who always advocates for more queer representation in cocktail bars. The queer community in San Francisco, which is always there to support its members and is always resisting and celebrating. My friends in NY, Patri and Pao, who are always there to guide and teach me. Shylah Hamilton Pacheco, CCA Diversity Studies Chair, who has been a mentor to me and always reminds me to “vibrate higher and higher.”
How are you celebrating Pride Month this time around?
I’ll be curating aquí estamos / here we are a project for the Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco. The project itself is an act of solidarity, regeneration, and celebration between artists from the Bay Area and Puerto Rico. In addition to sharing the artists’ newest work in social media, every week I’ll be having intimate conversations with each artist about the domestic space, solidarity, celebration, and regeneration. These conversations will be shared online weekly during June. On June 30, I’ll be hosting a live conversation, open to the public, as well as a celebration with four artists — two from the Bay Area and two from Puerto Rico — during which we will be talking about queer solidarity, regeneration, celebration, and the Stonewall anniversary.
Are there ways you think queer artists and art workers could be better supported?
Yes, I think we still need a lot more representation. We need to center trans and gender non-confirming artists and art workers. We can also be included and featured in projects that are not solely based on identity because we our identities are also intersectional.
In the communities that you’re part of, what are you hoping to see shift in the future?
I want to see queers working together to center the work of Indigenous artists and designers. I’m hoping to see more Black queers and queers of colors in high-level and full-time positions in the academia.
What’s the first thing you’re planning to do when it feels safer to physically gather again?
Uf, cooking a huge meal with the theme of solidarity and inviting friends over to eat, drink, sing karaoke, dance and then head to El Rio or a queer bar in SF to dance.
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.