Queer State(s)

September 9November 4

Mezzanine and East Galleries

Free and Open to the Public

Curated by Noah Simblist, VAC Curatorial Fellow 2010-2011, with David Willburn

Queer State(s) explores the ways in which Texas artists queer gender identity and the performance of sexuality through visual representation. The term ‘queer’ is not meant to be literal, as in any gay artist in Texas, but rather it is meant to refer to gay, and even straight, artists that in some way engage queer sexuality in their work. Queer here is meant to refer to a kind of sexuality or gender identity that resists easy classification and exists in a more ambiguous way.

person peering through painting
Libby Black, Watching You, 2008

Queer State(s) examines how artists participate in the performance of queer bodies. We are familiar with this notion in the case of drag kings and queens, but how is queerness evident in other forms? Can it be found in a traditional genre like life drawing or a mainstream form such as fashion photography? Can sexuality be queer when gender roles are reversed but remain straight? Are there ways that gender stereotypes can be pushed so far that they become queer?

This exhibition includes video, performance, photography, painting, and sculpture. It also includes artists that have various relationships to Texas. Some were born here and live elsewhere. Some are from elsewhere and are recent transplants, and some passed through for various reasons.

Queer State(s) artists include Ben Aqua, Libby Black, Robert Boland, CHRISTEENE, Thomas Feulmer, Heyd Fontenot, K8 Hardy, Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas, Ivan Lozano, Senalka McDonald, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Richard Patterson, PJ Raval, Adam Shecter, SKOTE, Michael Smith, and Jason Villegas.

Queer State(s) is presented in partnership with The Gender and Sexuality Center and The Queer Students Alliance, UT Austin.

Generous support for Queer State(s) comes from the Ford Foundation.


Noah Simblist is an artist, writer, and curator. His studio work explores the relationship between art and politics with particular attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He won the 2007 Moss/Chumley Award and has written for Art Lies and Art Papers magazines, as well as web-based publications such as D Magazine’s Front Row, Daily Serving, Glasstire, and …might be good. He was the director of Garner Tullis print publishing in New York and recently curated Yuri’s Office, a project with Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts (co-curated with Christina Rees), and Out of Place at Lora Reynolds Gallery in Austin. Past curated exhibitions include Abstraction/Construction at SOIL gallery in Seattle, Collecting and Collectivity at Conduit Gallery in Dallas, and 3 Propositions and a Musical Scenario in Fort Worth (co-curated with Subtext Projects). He is an Associate Professor of Art at SMU in Dallas and is currently pursuing a PhD in Art History at The University of Texas at Austin where he was the 2010-2011 Curatorial Fellow at the Visual Arts Center in the Department of Art and Art History.

David Willburn is an artist who lives and works in Fort Worth. He earned a BA from Vermont College of Norwich University and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts (FKA Vermont College). Willburn serves as art faculty and Department Chair at Eastfield College in Mesquite. Investigating ideas of sentimentality and narrative, Willburn creates hand and machine embroidered drawings of objects and spaces culled from home furnishing catalogs, as well as photographs of his own home environment. Willburn’s work has been featured in exhibitions at 500X Gallery in Dallas, University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon.