Target Gallery | Torpedo Factory
January 25 - March 8, 2020
Reception: Friday February 14, 2020 // 7:00-9:00 pm

Queer identity, and our relationship to queerness, is distinguishable through an acute, neverending process of unpacking, deconstructing, releasing, detaching, and falling apart. It’s a daily exercise in forgetting everything we’ve been taught, learned, and forcibly consumed about ourselves. Judith Halberstam in The Queer Art of Failure argues that forgetting in itself is an inherently queer tactic of disruption and resistance. While My Queer Valentine has everything to do with the relationship to those around us, it’s also equally invested in a queer ontology, meaning the relationship we have with our queer realities, and the ways in which queerness shapes and informs our lived experience. My Queer Valentine is as much a love letter to ourselves as it is a disclosing of longing to our community.

The works included in My Queer Valentine — including photography, painting, sculpture, installation, and mixed media — trace an incoherent road map of the ability for queerness to temporarily bind the parts that resist legibility, to give words and meaning to those unnameable parts, and to reveal the gestures and expressions that animate a politics of disrespectability and nonconformity.

I’ve dedicated my career to interrogating, unpacking, discovering, decoding, and elevating the intricate beauty of queer intimacy, pleasure, and desire. Perceiving the nuances of our bodies, gestures, and expressions that leave a trace, allow us to find one another, and tethers together a language all our own. My Queer Valentine is that trace, one that often leaves its indelible mark and allows us to find our way back to ourselves.

Exhibiting artists: Nicholas Aiden, Veronica Barker-Barzel, Brandin Barón, Adam David Bencomo, Miki Beyer, Louis Chavez, Mandy Chesney, Evin Dubois, Aurele Gould, Cat Gunn, Linda Hesh, Rachael McArthur, Annika Papke, Lucas J. Rougeux, Todd Stonnell, and Matt Storm.

Gallery 102
September 16 - November 15, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday September 20, 2019 // 6:00-8:00 pm

WASHINGTON DC - 2019 marks thirty years since the cancellation of The Perfect Moment: Photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. And in this new perfect moment, this appealing anniversary wrapped neatly in black and white, it is easy to draw a line directly from the present back to one point in the past. However, when time is compressed as such, what happens to the in-between? From the Margins aims to examine the foreclosure presented by Mapplethorpe’s legacy by pivoting towards Glenn Ligon’s response to Mapplethorpe. In this way, Ligon’s Notes On the Margins of the Black Book serves as a guide to generating critique.

In Ligon’s incisive work, photographs from Mapplethorpe’s infamous Black Book are paired with texts taken from writers such as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as quotes from everyday patrons to New York City bars and clubs. In his response to Mapplethorpe, Ligon reveals the inextricability of identity, race, sex, history, and politics. From the Margins views Ligon’s work as critique, but more specifically critique as care. Works on view such as Naima Green’s Pur·suit updates Catherine Opie’s Dyke Deck to better reflect the lived queer experience of today, with 54 card-sized portraits of queer womxn, trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people. Stanley Stellar, whose acclaimed photographs of New York City men spanning over four decades, continues to capture vulnerability and sensuality in all their endless manifestations.

From the Margins speaks to the function of critique, the authority of public reception, and the spectacularization of an artist into a mythos. Critique is presented without the condemnation of finality but rather as a form of care and collaboration. How can we better understand the history of representation when we re-examine Mapplethorpe’s position? The artists in the show both take up and refuse Mapplethorpe’s ethos in the service of making space. The exhibition considers the importance of filling in the gaps in our visual vocabulary, challenging the viewer to reconsider the legacy of representing those on the margins and the role of critique.

In addition to the sixteen artists on view, From the Margins includes a resource library and a fully illustrated catalog with over ten contributors.

Catalog contributors: Andy Johnson, Caitlin Chan, Jessica Layton, Megan L. Weikel, James Huckenpahler, Che Gossett, Terence Washington, Ravon Ruffin, Martina Dodd, Aubrey Maslen, Adriana Monsalve, and Josh T Franco.

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Published by: Homie House Press
Release Date: July 13, 2019

“I’ve heard it said that the Hawaiian language has a word for the in- between stages of growing, living, being, and dying. It’s Mahul. I am familiar with this term but through the xicana lens, its called nepantla. These words encompass the necessary space that we fall into when we are pushed and pulled in more than one direction for long periods of time. The in-between is a space of immense tension equal only to its growth. You may pass through nepantla once in your life, or you may find yourself in it often. There are some, who call themselves nepantlerxs, as they never seem to pull through entirely.. they are continuously grappling with the in- between of all that they are. Nepantla is parallel to fronteras (borders) in that, it is an action of going back and forth and not fully being one thing. Fronteras are meant to guard one from another, but when you are a frontera you are a third entity. You are what happens when two things surge. You are the juncture, you are nepantla, you are something all together new.”

— Adriana Monsalve, First Fronteras