Martine Gutierrez, Self Portrait. Courtesy of the artist.
At the 58th Venice Biennale, one can’t help but stop in their tracks before the work of Martine Gutierrez. The transgender Latinx photographer’s self-portraits challenge gender stereotypes, offer up new visions of pop-cultural icons, and commingle tropes of high fashion and indigenous cultures.
In one photograph, Gutierrez appears poolside, wrapped around a male mannequin, while resembling Kim Kardashian with silky black locks and a doe-eyed gaze; in another, she has melons in her bikini top, offering them up to the viewer like perfectly rotund breasts.
In the past year, Gutierrez, who shows with Ryan Lee, has earned not just prime real estate in Venice, but also the cover of Artforum and inclusion in museum shows across the U.S., the U.K., and Germany.
One of Gutierrez’s recent works, the magazine Indigenous Woman (2018), was inspired by aspirations to be a cover girl and to behold a glossy fashion magazine that reflected her own ideals, mixing glamorous looks, indigenous garb, and pop culture. RISD Museum curator Dominic Molon included Gutierrez in the show “Bona Drag” earlier this spring. Molon noted that the artist’s use of motifs from art history and commercial advertising “confuses the boundaries between them, provocatively suggesting how both ‘sell’ through seduction, whether the ‘product’ is high-end merchandise or established legacies of power and authority.”