Featuring work by: José Guadalupe Garza, Jessica Gatlin, Sair Goetz, Daniel Haddad, Jesus Hilario-Reyes + Leah Solomon , David Nasca, & Sandy Williams IV.
Curated by Ahniya Butler and Nick Wylie
Presented in collaboration with ACRE
Destruction, correction, and erosion. Shut Up Stone Mountain introduces a hurricane that washes away old world ideologies through the reconstruction of monuments. From melting statuettes and vanishing soldiers to garments that break down the pillars of poverty and identity, these seven contemporary artists conceptualize a new world that holds the tongues of our fore-folk and founding-fathers and deconstructs monoliths and histories. They’re ditching the stone and bronze, digging up dirt, and playing with plastics, to immortalize anti-monuments. -Ahniya Butler
Seven artists wrestle with mis-remembered histories petrified with the dead men who carved them. Worms’ egalitarian sex lives hum along as they digest corpses, Lincoln’s queer, disappearing gaze watches young men march by in night vision, Cheetos underfoot. Shovels bury and uncover echoes of whips, and the young take seriously the task of pissing on monuments’ old languages with words not everyone knows yet. Prompted by ideas of the unmonumentalility framed a decade ago by casual conceptualists in Chicago apartments, these artists gift us with new Denkmals – German for ‘monuments’ but more literally “time to think.” With the (spoiler alert) post-anthropocene fast approaching, we’re asked to play in the dirt and rubble of grand dumb metanarratives, revere spinelessness, and come out of it with suggestions (“time to think,” “Shut Up Stone Mountain”) translated into imperatives.
– Nick Wylie
Meet the Artists!
José Guadalupe Garza
José Guadalupe Garza was born along the US/Mexico border. He is a conceptual artist and educator working across various mediums. His practice examines ways in which Latinx histories and identities are continually constructed and reconstructed in American popular culture. Garza borrows from films, music, literary works, and the science fiction genre to create re-imagined narratives that include appropriated images, film scenes, recorded music, reenactments, improvisation and ready-made objects. Currently, he is the Museum Educator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and a founding member of Monaco.
Jessica Gatlin is an artist, maker and part-time sorceress based in Nashville, TN. She received her BFA in Studio Art from Florida State University and MFA from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. She has participated in numerous residencies and fellowships including Ox-Bow School of Art & Artist Residency (Saugatuck, MI), the Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia, PA), and the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts (Wroclaw, PL). An interdisciplinary artist, Gatlin takes a speculative approach pursuing ways to deconstruct and destroy a White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy that has rendered her and many others invisible.
Sair Goetz writes instructions that queer problematic realities into speculative fictions. Their work seeks to leverage the weightlessness of language to complicate, manipulate, and annotate weighty matters. This speculation is inscribed back into reality through bodily performance, video, installation, and signage. Sair received their MFA from the Ohio State University in 2017 and their BA in Visual and Media Studies, Arts of the Moving Image, and Documentary Studies from Duke University in 2011. In 2017-2018 Sair was awarded the Dedalus Foundation post-MFA fellowship. Sair has shown their work internationally and completed several residencies across the US: Open Windows, San Francisco, CA; SPACE, Portland, ME; ACRE, Stuben, WI; Little Paper Planes @ Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco, CA; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Weir Farm, Wilson, CT; Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, AZ (with fourfor collective); Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro, NC.
David Nasca makes sculptures that draw upon themes of re-imagined biology, queer futurism, and personal fantasy. Animal biology informs his work, and he uses deep sea organisms, fishing lures, and invertebrate reproductive strategies as a metaphors for queer sexuality and attraction. Material play is central to his practice and using everything from leather and feathers to ceramics and cast plastics, he strives to create a world populated by human/object hybrids, futurist organisms, and post-op gender unassigneds with bespoke genitalia. He studied at Deep Springs College and received a BA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago in 2012. He has exhibited in the US and abroad at the Centro Cultural del México Contemporáneo (Mexico City), The International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago), and Sullivan Galleries (Chicago), among others.
Daniel is an interdisciplinary artist that focuses on the socio-political problems of immigration policies. Through his work, and personal experience, he raises the viewer’s awareness of the routines that immigrants, including himself, face daily to reach equal opportunities and achieve the potential for a better living at the same time cultures emerge, leaving one-self in a status of in-between, questioning what part of one’s identity is preserved or let evolve for survival as a foreigner. Haddad has exhibited his work nationally in non-profit galleries in Dallas, Miami Prize Expo, Washington D.C., Vis Arts Center and Chicago, such as the recent 6108 Living Architecture event and the University Club Annual Exhibition. Born in Mexico City he works and lives in Chicago where he got his MFA in the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Jesús Hilario-Reyes (born 1996, San Juan, Puerto Rico) is an interdisciplinary artist with a Bachelor in Fine Arts Studio(2019) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Exhibiting work in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum and Mana Contemporary (Chicago) Jesús’ practice is a convergence of sound performance, expanded cinema, and new media. They’ve participated in some residencies including ACRE (Steuben, WI), Industry of the Ordinary (Chicago, IL) and Redline (Milwaukee, WI). Jesus utilizes violence as acts of queerness to interrogate the oppositional gaze and demolish our social scaffolding in an effort to cultivate cultural reimagining. With a practice akin to the hurricane, Jesus finds salvage in the spin, the blur, and the unobtainable
Leah Solomon is an Eritrean-American, writer, moving-image, and sound artist (born 1995). Solomon holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work ventures into the realm of expanded cinema, examining black diasporic perspectives through auto-biographical, personal, and abstracted geographies. She has developed a polyphonic vocabulary, spanning fiction and documentary through her poetic and lyrical approaches. Solomon’s work demands a mediation of transnational migrant experiences concerning exile, refugees, and belonging. Hybridizing a new frontier of cross-cultural visual and sonic vernaculars, she aims to create new futures through a negotiation of the past. Leah Solomon is a 2019 Luminarts Visual Fellow, a recipient of the 2018 Terry Samala De Guzman Family Stipend Award through the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, and has screened films at Woman Made Gallery, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Gene Siskel Film Center.
Sandy Williams IV
Sandy Williams IV is an artist from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a 2019 graduate of VCU’s Sculpture + Extended Media MFA Program. His work is a conceptually based practice linked to record keeping and time, and the ways in which these concepts find plurality within our culture; or more pointedly, the importance that we attach to “time” and “the record”, as they relate to our “legacies”, “cultures”, or “the canon”; our histories and the ahistorical, the prehistorical, fantasies, the things that never happened but could’ve, imagined futures and parallel universes. Williams has exhibited most recently at the ICA in Richmond, The Second Street Gallery (Charlottesville, VA), the Pensacola Museum of Art, and The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.