Stand Close, It's Shorter Than You Think
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in collaboration with Artist Curated Projects (ACP) presents Stand Close, It’s Shorter Than You Think: A show on feminist rage, co-curated by Katherine Brewer Ball and RJ Messineo with work by boychild, RJ Messineo, MPA and Guadalupe Rosales. The exhibition explores the promises and pitfalls of thinking with rage as a meditation, an inspiration, a medium, and a process.
In the 1960′s and 1970′s the United States became keenly aware of itself as a domestically violent space—from the death of Martin Luther King Jr., to the Watts Riots, to the Vietnam War. This public awareness coincided with the increasing momentum of second wave feminism and other radical public protest movements. But as “militant” organizations like The Black Panthers articulated, this violence did not originate from the left, but was a reaction to larger social structures that, in their refusal of social services for example, were already enacting violence on the poor, women, and people of color. As Pamela Haag explains, feminism “questioned not whether, but how violence would happen, how the body would be (ab)used or subjectivity compromised.” If this violence against marginalized bodies is inevitable, what are the most powerful stances from which we might confront its wide unending reach?
Rage is both a re-action and an action. It is felt in response to unequal power-dynamics such as sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and racism and the accumulation of these insults over time, lifetimes, and generations. Examining the way rage shapes and is expressed in the work of contemporary queer and feminist artists, Stand Close brings together the products and the process of rage. The work in the show ranges from the more direct visual semiotics of unrest in the performance work of MPA and boychild, to abstract meditations on power and loss in the drawing and painting works of RJ Messineo and Guadalupe Rosales. boychild’s performances—which employ costume, disguise, and changeability— are archived in traces across the internet referencing the in-between forms of queer cultural production and nightlife. RJ Messineo’s body-sized abstract assembled paintings raise questions about authorship and legibility as they play on what it means to make a mark. MPA’s collection of documents from her performances and her installation in the archive propose experiments in direct action, in meditation, and in the speculative alterations of power and framing. Guadalupe Rosales’ photographs, sculptures and meticulous hand-drawn geometric shapes limn relationships between mourning and rage in the return home.