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Playing loud with the windows open: Teena Marie’s Ooo La La La
Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s 1993 essay “Public and Private: Spheres of Influence” in relation to the current wave of anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment and legislation.
Drinking: This herbal coffee blend that’s my current favorite. The bag is so cute and I really feel like I’m “making coffee” when I open it up. Chrysanthemum and goji berry tea per TCM directives. This Anima Mundi Euphoria elixir that was a sweet studio visit gift from my friend J.
Donating to: My dear friend Maya is having gender-affirming chest surgery soon, and the fund for their recovery is so close to its goal!
The current group show at Storage Gallery, which includes my favorite sculptural work I’ve seen lately by Baxter Koziol:
I’m hardly an arts writer, but I’d be remiss in not describing my experience of Miles’s piece on view at Pace. I got to know his work in residence at Fountainhead Arts, working in adjacent studios in a converted garage space. Our respective materials saturated the studio air with the scent of star and calla lilies and hides of leather, a smell that became more pungent and animal as the lilies began to rot. My introduction to the durational performance practice Miles maintains was through static images and documentation, 3D scans and notes charted on the walls, and through hearing him describe the exacting mechanics of his process again and again in studio visits. Fountain II was my first opportunity to experience the work itself, and upon walking into the gallery and being confronted by the piece I immediately wept. Miles and his co-performer Niall Jones stood atop a white pedestal in the center of a pool ringed by an earthen wall. The liquid from the pool pumped through tubing worn by each performer, siphoning into streams that ran from their hands and returned to the pool. The two figures engaged each other in slow movements, holding, supporting, and touching one another in poetic gestures of care.
While the liquid in its larger mass was dark, resembling blood, once cycled through the body it appeared rose-colored, staining the pedestal and soaking the performers’ clothing a matching, saturated pink. The pink was what startled me into crying even before the tenderness of the embrace, and tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched them move with one another. Fountain II is the second and final act of its predecessor Fountain I, “a poetic action to make visible what the artist describes as an evocation of the ‘final stages of heartbreak—when one finally turns one’s entire body inside out to reach a sort of ecstasy’,” and here, together, two people transform the sanguine ocean that strands them at its center into a sweeter sustenance— an ambrosial lifeblood that, as it pools, reflects their tenderness back to themselves mirror-like. Perhaps the work struck me the way it did because I am moving through my own stages of heartbreak, but it also touched on the larger longing for connection that I sense in our collective consciousness. In its wetness, the pink was able to be both gentle and dense, soft and heavy, and it was a reminder that I needed at that moment.
[Image: Miles Greenberg’s Fountain II at Pace Gallery.]
Remembering: Mira Bellweather, author of the zine “F*cking Trans Women.” Mira passed away in December at 40 years old, of complications stemming from lung cancer. Her writing and advocacy remain groundbreaking and critical, and you can get a PDF of the entire zine at the link above. From THEM:
Bellwether considered the work, first published in 2010, a “how-to manual.” Centered on embodiment, creativity, and collaboration, the zine is a rallying cry, championing all the incredible possibilities contained within trans women’s bodies and their lives.
Final updates: I’m part of a panel at NYU’s Latinx Project tomorrow evening with curator Marissa Del Toro and artist José Villalobos ahead of the exhibition Xican-a.o.x. Body. There’s a virtual attendance option as well as an in-person event— please join us!
Marlee Grace has a new class that just started, and it’s not too late to join and get recordings of the first session. This course is THE SHAPES OF OUR OFFERINGS: A three week class for building ecosystems for creativity and ease between projects. Their newsletter class is the reason I finally took the plunge and made a Substack and their co-working space Flexible Office is the only reason I get any kind of grant application or emailing done during my week. Highly recommend!
My dear friend either has returned to tattooing after a long hiatus. They are working in Montreal and can be reached via Instagram @fka_homepoke.
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