Not The Post-Apocalypse I Expected
Organized by D-L Alvarez and Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
Featuring Arthur Avilés, Jonathan Gonzalez, Nayland Blake, Kia Labeija and Anthony Viti
This encampment explores how the queers and activists who struggled through the crisis of the 80s and 90s are surviving / dealing / getting by in a present marked by gentrification, evictions, the migration of more and more of our lives onto online spaces, pronounced income inequality, the advent of high-deductible health care, and a political climate that asks us to celebrate the legalization of same sex marriage but leave behind many of our radical queer aspirations. We want to consider if the dangers of the present might be more insidious than the ones of the past, because although they are perhaps experienced as less urgent we face them as older people and without the mobilized activist networks we had available some 25 years ago. Four artists, all with different relationships to aging through and beyond the activism of the 80s and 90s, have been invited to present work that considers how we are doing in a present so shaped by, and so different from, our past. Presented with Visual AIDS and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.
Arthur Avilés is a Gay New York-Rican dancer/choreographer. He was born in Queens and grew up in Long Island and the Bronx. He received a BA in Theatre/Dance from Bard College, was a member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from ‘87 to ‘95, and received a New York Dance and performance award (Bessie) in ‘89. He is a NYFA fellow and has received the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture. In 1996 he founded Arthur Avilés Typical Theatre and in ‘98, along with Charles Rice-González, inaugurated a performance space in the South Bronx, BAAD! (The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance). In 2002 he founded The Bronx Dance Coalition, of which he remains the artistic director/director and this past summer received an honorary doctorate from Bard College.
Jonathan Gonzalez is a NY-based artist working in performance, sound design, and production. His work has been shown at New York Live Arts as a Fresh Tracks artists with collaborator EmmaGrace Skove Epes (2015-16), BAX as a Dancing While Black fellow (2015-16), BAAD! Blaktinx and OutLikeThat festivals, Danspace Project, Socrates Sculpture Park, Loisaida Center, Wild Project, XL Nightclub, and JACK. He has had the pleasure to work with Patricia Ho bauer, Grisha Coleman, Cynthia Oliver, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Ni’Ja Whitson, Will Rawls, and Katrina Reid.
Nayland Blake makes study of what a body carries with it through the day, visibly or hidden. With humor and visual poetry he utilizes his own biography to dive into racial and sexual politics. He participated in the Whitney Biennial (1991) and the Venice Biennale (1993), the Tang Teaching Museum presented a survey of his performance-based work (2003), and he had a one-man exhibition at Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco (2012). A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Blake chairs the International Photography CenterBard MFA program, and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Kia Labeija, who comes out of New York ball scene’s legendary House of Labeija, is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in New York City. Her digital portraits re-imagine nonfictional events that explore the intersections of community, politics, fine art, and activism. She is a featured artist in the traveling exhibition Art, AIDS, America, where she stands as the only female artist of color living with and born with HIV. As a voguer she has performed and curated events in collaboration with MoMa PS1, The Brooklyn Museum, and AFROPUNK. She is also a co-founded the artists’ collective #GrenAIDS, which uses art and popular culture to connect with younger generations and foster a revival of HIV and AIDS reflection, one that celebrates life and love.
Anthony Viti lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His experience as an activist informs his work as an artist and as an educator. Viti currently teaches art history at the School of Visual Arts to international students and facilitates a monthly visual thinking group developed for a mental health program that serves LGBT people. Working across media, Viti’s art is confrontational and high-spirited in its focus on narratives of the body, HIV, and sexual subcultures. Viti has received grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, Art Matters, and twice been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Solo exhibitions include Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and Deven Golden Fine Art. His work has been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he holds an MFA from Rutgers University.
D-L Alvarez works to extend the psychological and political potency of particular historical moments via imagery representing them. The images are never as found, rather they endure distortions: blurring, doubling, folds and degradations. He does this to mimic the way loaded representation exceeds the viewer’s ability to fully process its significance, as well as to echo the way each history is scripted with the bias of its author. His own history includes chapters of working with experimental and deaf theater companies, AIDS activism, and frequent collaborative work. He exhibits internationally and his art can be found in the collections of the SF and NY MoMA, the Whitney, and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives. His next solo exhibition is scheduled for the end of this year at Derek Eller’s new space in the Lower East Side.
Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas is a New York theater-maker and Artistic Director of the Obie winning Fulcrum Theater. His recent solo piece, Backroom, was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His play, Bird in the Hand, was a New York Times Critics Pick. His play Blind Mouth Singing, also a New York Times Critics Pick, completed runs at Chicago’s Teatro Vista, and the National Asian American Theatre Company (NYC). His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; the Helen Merrill Award; the Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship at Princeton University; “playwright of the year” in El Nuevo Herald’s 1999 year-end list; a Writers Community Residency from the YMCA National Writer’s Voice; and the Robert Chesley Award, among others. He has been commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons, is a “Usual Suspect” at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumnus of New Dramatists and teaches playwriting at Bard College.