This artist-powered symposium introduced and moderated by About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art curator, Jonathan D. Katz explores the broad outlines of queerness in visual art not as a noun, but as a verb. Building on the exhibition’s theme of destabilizing hierarchies, this symposium brings an extremely diverse array of artists together to address their different approaches to destructuring the ostensibly stable binaries that police our culture–including male/female, straight/ gay and a host of others. Elevating transness and metamorphosis, these artists refute predictable identity categories, and embrace queerness in its most expansive sense of refusing to delimit the term to sexuality. Among the artists featured are: María Elena González, Harmony Hammond, Carl Pope, Leonard Suryajaya, Keijaun Thomas, Del LaGrace Volcano, and Sophia Wallace.
About the Participants:
María Elena González-
Cuban-born artist María Elena González is an internationally recognized sculptor based in Brooklyn, NY, and the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. González interweaves the conceptual with a strong dedication to craft in her complex installations and poetic arrangements, exploring themes like identity, memory, and dislocation. In 1999, González received widespread acclaim for her site-specific sculpture Magic Carpet/Home, commissioned by the Public Art Fund. She has been a visiting critic in Sculpture at the Yale University School of Art, a resident faculty member at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and a visiting artist faculty member at The Cooper Union. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, the Prix de Rome, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Harmony Hammond is an artist, art writer and independent curator. A leading figure in the development of the feminist art movement in New York in the early 1970s, she was a co-founder of A.I.R., the first women’s cooperative art gallery in New York (1972) and Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art & Politics (1976). Since 1984, Hammond has lived and worked in northern New Mexico, teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson from 1989–2006. Hammond’s earliest feminist work combined gender politics with post-minimal concerns of materials and process, frequently occupying a space between painting and sculpture – a focus that continues to this day.
Hammond’s work is represented by Alexander Gray Associates, NYC, where she has had three solo exhibitions (2013, 2016 and 2018). Her artwork was included in major exhibitions such as “Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age” (2015-2016); “Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution” (2007) and “High Times/Hard Times, New York Painting 1967–1975” (2006-2007). The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT is presenting “Harmony Hammond: Material Witness, Fifty Years of Art”, a survey exhibition that opened March 3rd and remains on view through September 15, 2019. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, the first monograph on Hammond’s work.
Carl Pope studied cinema and photography at Southern Illinois University and worked as a freelance commercial photographer for more than a decade. He received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Lilly Endowment, and the National Endowment for the Arts to photograph the socio-economic landscape of Indianapolis. He has exhibited with Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson, and Darrel Ellis, and he gained national attention in the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art. He continued his studies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, New York University, and Indiana University. Pope began working with video/text installations, including Palimpsest, which was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial.
Leonard Suryajaya received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 and BFA from California State University, Fullerton in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Irvine Fine Arts Center, CA; Expo Chicago, IL; Chicago Artist Coalition, IL; The Center for Fine Arts Photography, CO; Roy G Biv Gallery, OH. Leonard’s work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection and his publications include Lenscratch; Chicago Tribune; Chicago Magazine; South Side Weekly. He has recently lectured at the Society for Photographic Education 2014 National Conference, MD and the Society for Photographic Education 2016 National Conference, NV. Leonard has been awarded the New Artist Society Award; James Weinstein Memorial Fellowship; Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Prize for Emerging Artist; and the Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship.
Keijaun Thomas creates live performance and multimedia installations that oscillate between movement and materials that function as tools, objects and structures as well as a visual language that can be read, observed and repeated within spatial, temporal and sensorial environments. Her work investigates the histories, symbols and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Thomas examines, deconstructs and reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized and marginalized representations of the black body in relation to disposable labor, domestic service and notions of thingness amongst materials as a way to address blackness outside of a codependent binary structure of existence. Thomas earned their Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thomas has shown work both nationally and Internationally in Los Angles, CA, Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, New York, NY and Taiwan, Taipei, Paris, France and the United Kingdom.
Del LaGrace Volcano-
Del LaGrace Volcano is a visual artist and cultural producer working with the body and identity notions for social, political and personal purposes. They attended the San Francisco Art Institute from 1979-81 and received an MA in Photographic Studies at the University of Derby in 1992. Selected publications include: Love Bites (1991), The Drag King Book with Jack Halberstam (1999), Sublime Mutations (2000), Sex Works with Beatriz Preciado (2005) and Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities with Ulrika Dahl (2008). Selected exhibitions include: Street Style at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (1994); Corpus Queer: Bodies in Resistance at Le Transpalette Centre for Contemporary Art in Bourges, France (2005); Das Achte Feld: The Eighth Square, Ludwig Museum, Koln, Germany (2006); and En Todas Partes: Politicas de la Diversidad En El Arte (Everywhere: Sexual Diversity Policies in Art), Centro Galego De Arte Contemporanea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2009); and sh(OUT) at the Museum of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland (2009). In 2012, Corpus Queer: Bodies of Resistance was shown at the Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art in 2018 and at the Hayward Gallery in London 2019. Volcano’s work was featured in the solo exhibition Del LaGrace Volcano: A Mid-Career Retrospective, which opened at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in 2011. They are a regular contributor to academic publications, television programs and films on visual art, queer and feminist theory.
Sophia Wallace is an interdisciplinary artist with a BA in Political Science from Smith College and MA in Photography from New York University & The International Center of Photography. Her work is shown widely in the US and internationally including Spain, Austria, Mexico, Italy, Nigeria and the UK. Exhibitions of Wallace’s art have been held at Kunsthalle Wien Museum, Samek Art Museum, Leslie-Lohman Museum, Aperture Gallery, Taschen Gallery, Blueproject Foundation, and Newspace Center of Photography many others. Her works are in permanent collections of Agnes Scott College, Leslie-Lohman Museum and The Vescom Collection. Critical recognition of Wallace’s work on female body knowledge includes the Atlantic, PBS, ARTE, The Guardian, Art in America, Teen Vogue, Time, VICE, and Huffington Post among others . She was a recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship, and has been honored with Griffin Museum’s Critic’s Pick, and PDN’s Curator Award. Presently, Wallace is completing a monograph of CLITERACY for 2019.
Jonathan David Katz-
Jonathan David Katz, PhD, is a pioneering academic and gay activist who works at the intersection of art history and queer history. In the 1990s, he became one of the first full-time American academics to be tenured in gay and lesbian studies. He founded the Harvey Milk Institute, the world’s largest queer studies institute, and was president and chief curator of New York City’s Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. As a specialist in Cold War-era art, Katz is concerned with the question of why the American avant-garde came to be dominated and defined by queer artists during what was perhaps the single most homophobic decade in this nation’s history. His past work includes co-curating “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Art,” an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery that broke ground by focusing on LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) issues.
He is currently a Visiting Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at The University of Pennsylvania and chair of the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo.