Bring Your Own Body:
transgender between archives and aesthetics
October 21 – December 11, 2016
Participating artists: niv Acosta, Mark Aguhar, Math Bass, Effy Beth, Justin Vivian Bond, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Vaginal Davis, Zackary Drucker, Chloe Dzubilo, Greer Lankton, Pierre Molinier, Genesis P. Orridge, Flawless Sabrina, Buzz Slutzky, and Chris Vargas and the Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art.
Organized by Jeanne Vaccaro with Stamatina Gregory
Bring Your Own Body presents the work of transgender artists and archives, from the institutional and sexological to the personal and liminal. After exhibiting in New York City and Chicago last year, the exhibit will open October 21 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and be on view until December 11. A program of performance, film, artists, and scholars in conversation, spanning several Philadelphia area venues, will accompany and expand on the exhibition’s conceptual and political stakes.
Taking its title from an unpublished manuscript by intersex pioneer Lynn Harris, Bring Your Own Body historicizes the sexological and cultural imaginary of transgender through a curatorial exploration of historical collections, including the Kinsey Archives. Bring Your Own Body presents contemporary transgender art and world making practices that contest existing archival narratives in favor of new historical genealogies. Moving beyond the aesthetically defunct category of “identity politics” and the fraught gains of visibility, the artworks propose transgender as a set of aesthetics made manifest through multiple forms: paint, sculpture, textiles, film, digital collage, and performance.
Sexological and diagnostic histories of the clinic and the case study still reverberate in the foreclosure of transgender subjectivity. Bring Your Own Body interrogates the archive’s often violent capture of identity, mining the visual data of “transvestite” photography collected by Alfred Kinsey as well as newsletters and ephemera of self-identified trans communities. “Transvestism in the News” (2015), a digital collage made by Chris E. Vargas after a visit to the Kinsey archives, repurposes sensational news headlines from the 1940s–1960s about “gender deviance.”
Several artists interrogate the intersections of historical taxonomy and lived experience. Justin Vivian Bond constructs an intimate study of beauty and the search for the “transchild” in watercolor diptychs of the artist and model Karen Graham in My Model / MySelf (2015). Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s polaroids and collages, made with partner Lady Jaye, express the couple’s savage resistance to the “tyranny of DNA” and a commitment to deconstructing the fiction of self. Early, radical artists working in and around gender and performance are included, including handwritten text by the mother of “terrorist drag,” Vaginal Davis; ephemera from the archive of legendary drag queen Flawless Sabrina; and photographs by Surrealist outlier Pierre Molinier. Sculptures by Math Bass and Buzz Slutzky explore formal relationships between bodily absurdity and physical materials. Works from the estates of Mark Aguhar and Effy Beth, many of which are on view for the first time, recognize formidable accomplishments within too-brief careers and gesture to the importance of digital communities mobilized by young artists.
While the exhibition gathers work under an expanded umbrella of transgender, it does so without identatiarian claims. Transgender is neither new nor finished, despite recent and unprecedented visibility in popular media. Bring Your Own Body presents a set of archival and aesthetic relations critical to our continued understanding of a richly textured transgender landscape.
Bring Your Own Body: transgender between archives and aesthetics will be on view Oct. 21 through Dec. 11 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. A gallery conversation with the curators will be held Friday, Oct. 21, at 4:30 p.m. in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. The talk will be followed by an opening reception from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery. Additional related programming includes a two-day symposium on "Queer Genealogies of the Normal" (Oct. 27–28), a performance by niv Acosta at the Institute of Contemporary Art, film screening of The Queen at the International House, and a conversation between artists Chris E. Vargas and Sharon Hayes at the University of Pennsylvania.
For details and a full schedule: exhibits.haverford.edu/bringyourownbody.
Bring Your Own Body: transgender between archives and aesthetics was curated by Jeanne Vaccaro with Stamatina Gregory and organized for The Cooper Union. BYOB is presented by the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College.
Additional support for Bring Your Own Body has been provided by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University; the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; International House Philadelphia; Penn Humanities Forum; the University of Pennsylvania Departments of English and Art; the University of Victoria Transgender Archives; Haverford College Libraries; the Haverford College Women*s Center; and Independent College Programs, Health Studies, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Concentration in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights at Haverford College.
Overseen by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and located in Whitehead Campus Center, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, associate director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and coordinator of campus exhibitions, at (610) 896-1287, email email@example.com, or visit the exhibit’s website: exhibits.haverford.edu/bringyourownbody.
Haverford College is located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pa., 19041
Gallery Conversation and Opening Reception
Friday, October 21, 2016
Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Gallery Conversation with Curators Stamatina Gregory and Jeanne Vaccaro
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Opening Reception
by Bring Your Own Body Artist niv Acosta
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Supported by the Leeway Foundation
CLAPBACK is about the power of black asses to shed our colonial oppressions, transcend the expectation of dying young, and shift the earth’s gravitational field and jettison evil trolls.
Working across dance performance, sculpture, and educational forums “as ways to consider political issues of race and gender,” the event will feature the institution “as a white, blank surface, which Acosta aims to mark by means of his choreographic action, moving across – and against – his audience.
Queer Genealogies of the Normal
October 27-28, 2016
Haverford College and International House Philadelphia
Organized in conjunction with the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery exhibition Bring Your Own Body: transgender between archives and aesthetics, Queer Genealogies of the Normal gathers artists, archivists, scholars, and curators for a conversation about the politics of archival research, curation, public display, and historical reenactment.
Organized by Jeanne Vaccaro, Visiting Assistant Professor of Independent College Programs, Haverford College and Gustavus Stadler, Associate Professor of English, Haverford College. Presented by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Distinguished Visitors Program of Haverford College, and International House Philadelphia.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Keynote Lecture: “In Treatment: Psychiatry and the Archives of Modern Sexuality”
Talk by Regina Kunzel
Doris Stevens Professor in Women's Studies; History and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies; Director, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Princeton University
Chase Auditorium, Haverford College
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Screening of The Queen (1968)
International House Philadelphia
*Free with Haverford ID
dir. Frank Simon, US, 1968, 35mm, color, 69 mins.
With an introduction by Gustavus Stadler, Associate Professor of English, Haverford College
The Queen (1968) follows a cross-country drag competition organized by Flawless Sabrina that concludes in the Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant held at Town Hall in 1967. The Flawless Sabrina Archive contains film, sculpture, writing, photography, painting, and music; in addition to original work by Sabrina herself, the collection contains pieces by her contemporaries, whom Sabrina inspired or collaborated with, including the Kennedy's, Francesco Scavullo, John Waters, David Bowie, Andy Warhol, and Diane Arbus. The mission of
Friday, October 28, 2016
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Tour of Bring Your Own Body: transgender between archives and aesthetics exhibition
Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Whitehead Campus Center, Haverford College
With exhibition curators Jeanne Vaccaro and Stamatina Gregory
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Deviant Histories of Gender and Sexuality
Hurford Center Seminar Room, Stokes 102, Haverford College
Gayle Salamon, Associate Professor of English and Gender and Sexuality Studies, Princeton University
Kyla Schuller, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Heather K. Love, Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Stokes 106 Multicultural Center, Haverford College
1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Artists, Archives, and Legacies of Feminism
Hurford Center Seminar Room, Stokes 102, Haverford College
Lisa Darms, Archivist and Founder of Riot Grrrl Archives at Fales Library of New York University
Tuesday Smillie, Artist, The Right Brain of Darkness
Johanna Fateman, Writer and Musician
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Right Brain of Darkness
Walkthrough with Artist Tuesday Smillie
Magill Library, Haverford College
The Right Brain of Darkness is a series of watercolor drawings celebrating Ursula K. LeGuin’s classic sci-fi novel, The Left Hand of Darkness; claiming the book as a proto-transfeminist text.
Chris E. Vargas in Dialogue with Sharon Hayes
Monday, November 21, 2016
The Howard A. Silverstein & Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Project Space
Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Supported by the Penn Humanities Forum and the Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
Happy Birthday, Marsha! Screening & Conversation with Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel
Monday, December 5, 7:30 p.m.
Chase Auditorium, Haverford College
Co-sponsored by the Haverford College Women*s Center
Happy Birthday, Marsha! is an experimental film about the legendary transgender artist and activist Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and her life in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, who co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced the film, stage a performative lecture and screen selections from their highly anticipated film.