Queer Terrortories brings together emerging contemporary artists engaging with politics of anti-assimilation. As gayness enters the mainstream, assimilation to white heteronormativity becomes increasingly privileged over the voices of trans* and POC members in the LGBTQ+ community. Yet queerness remains under attack. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation rises while queer bodies struggle under the threat of fatal violence, and the mainstream media repeatedly co-opts queer people’s trauma for political spectacle. Through performance, multimedia installation, drawing, and photography, the featured artists in this exhibition consider the aesthetics of terror in relation to acts of queerness and illustrate the radical way in which queer artists define their own physical and emotional territories. Each artist uniquely employs networks within their practice—social media and the Internet, queer and feminist theory, or a collective-as-queer family—to resist societal and systematic oppression. These networks become platforms for trauma to be processed, safety and futurity to be imagined, and sexualities and genders to be celebrated. Artists include Ryan Hawk, E. Jane, The Highest Closet (Bug Davidson, Creighton Baxter, Hayley Morgenstern, Jessica Borusky, Sarah Hill), and Nabeela Vega.
Queer Terrortories is organized by Ryan Hawk with Center Space Project, the student arts organization of the VAC. Center Space Project, which oversees Center Space, an exhibition space within the VAC that showcases the artistic and curatorial work of undergraduate and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. Generous support for Center Space Project comes from Robin and Trey Hancock.
Ryan Hawk is an artist and arts organizer based in Austin, Texas. His work has been exhibited at venues such as The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, Art League Houston, Grace Exhibition Space, Pioneer Works, The Nagoya Museum of Fine Arts, Anthony Greany, and Difibult8r Gallery. His awards include: The 2015 UMLAUF Prize and the 2016 Traveling Fellowship from the MFA, Boston. Hawk received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and is currently an MFA candidate at The University of Texas at Austin.
E. Jane (E_SCRAAATCH) is a Black woman, artist and sound designer currently based in Philadelphia, PA. They are thinking about safety, futurity, cyberspace and how subjugated bodies navigate media/the media. They have shown recent photo, video, performance, and sound-based works at The Kitchen and MoCADA in New York as the other half of sound duo SCRAAATCH, Various Small Fires in LA, Little Berlin in Philadelphia, Edel Assanti in London, Bar Babette in Berlin, and all over the internet. E. holds a degree in Art History with minors in English and Philosophy from Marymount Manhattan College in New York and recently received their MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Highest Closet (HC) is an art collection and collaborative project involving artists Creighton Baxter, Jessica Borusky, Bug Davidson, Sarah Hill, and Hayley Morgenstern. Since 2011, Highest Closet has generated performance-based artworks and refined transdisciplinary execution of queer narratives and aesthetics. We are a queer family. We drive half way across the country to document each other’s performances. Currently, Highest Closet members live in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and San Francisco, California. As collaborators and a collective, Highest Closet has shown at the Hillyer Art Space, Washington D.C.; Lumen Festival, New York; SUPERNOVA Performance Art Festival, 2013; The Anthony Greaeny Gallery, Boston Massachusettes; Blue/Orange Gallery, Texas; Montserrat College of Art and Design, Beverly Massachusetts; Paragraph Gallery and La Esquina Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri.
Creighton Baxter’s interdisciplinary practice crosses various material engagements with foregrounded emphases on performance, performative documentation/detritus, and drawing. Along with various solo projects, she has been collaborating with artist Hayley Morgenstern on the performance project It Might Get Better since 2011. Baxter rose up in Phoenix Arizona and received her B.F.A from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. She has performed nationally and internationally, most recently participating in exhibitions and events at: Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn), Galerie Zurcher (New York), Anthony Greaney (Boston), Womanorial.com, and Rhizome.org. Baxter has participated in performance works and projects by: Amanda Coogan (The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Jarbas Lopez (Arizona State University Art Museum) and Lyle Ashton Harris (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art).
Jessica Borusky is an artist, educator, and curator currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. Jessica received their Master of Fine Arts at Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and presently teaches at the University of Missouri Kansas City and the Kansas City Art Institute in the Art and Art History Departments; and is the founder of Alt. Lecture KC and Flesh Crisis. Borusky is the recipient of two ArtsKC Inspiration Grants for curatorial and artistic endeavors, a Bread KC grant, an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, and a fellowship for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Jessica’s critical and creative writing can be found in ArtsFocus Oklahoma, Informality, Emergency Index, and A Glimpse Of, a yearlong writing and visual arts project for an Athens, GR catalogue. Jessica’s curatorial work has been shown in Kansas City, Boston, Oklahoma City, and New York. Jessica has shown in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, D.C., Portland, Atlanta, St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, New Dehli, Kansas City, Houston, Las Vegas, and at the University of Canterbury (NZ) in early 2017.
Bug Davidson is a motion image artist and film director working in Austin, Texas. Davidson is interested in communicating through visual language the role of contemporary art, gender, representation, and the enchantment of cinematic gesture.
Sarah Hill lives and works in Austin, Texas. They have shown nationally and internationally. Sarah has performed at Le Lieu at The Contemporary Art Center in Québec, Canada, at the International Performance Platform Festival in Lublin, Poland at Gallery Labirynt, and at Performatorium 2014: Festival of Queer Performance Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Sarah received their MFA from the Museum School in partnership with Tufts University, Boston. They have studied with Black Market International at the Festival of Live Art in Glasgow, Scotland. They have performed at Mobius, Proof Gallery and Anthony Greaney in Boston, Grace Exhibition Space in New York, little berlin in Philadelphia, Living Arts Space in Tulsa, Waterloo Center for Arts in Iowa and The MACC in Austin. They have screened videos in Australia, Berlin, Canada, London (FRINGE! Queer Film & Arts Fest) Miami, New York (The Armory Show) Portugal, San Francisco (SFTFF San Francisco Transgender Film Festival), and Scotland. Sarah has worked on projects with William Pope. L (Cusp) and Roderick Buchanan (Swim).
Hayley Morgenstern is a video and performance artist interested in how aesthetics can be used to represent what is thought to be unspeakable. Morgenstern’s work explores the connections, divergences, parallels, and overlaps between historical and contemporary depictions of queerness and sexual violence.
Nabeela Vega is a South Asian gender/queer media artist with an interest in creative organizing. Their expressions use photography, performance, and moving image to explore post-9/11 narratives that intersect with South Asian diasporic experiences. Vega maintains that the personal is political, which expands the work from an orientalist lens into considering its role in digital, intimate, and banal spaces. Aesthetically, these narratives follow several tropes. Most commonly: persona, gold, and autobiography, to build and communicate with the viewer. Their work has been exhibited nationally, internationally, and in publications like The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The Aerogram. Past curatorial projects include RQP: Radical Queer Possibilities & MIX NYC. They are currently cultivating VIX: Virtual International Exchange. Vega will be Artist in Residence at the Boston Center for the Arts in Fall 2016 and Boston University’s 808 Gallery, Spring 2017.