Daily Archives: May 8, 2015

TONIGHT: An Evening with Zackary Drucker

American trans artist Zackary Drucker presents “She Gone Rogue” (2012), an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired narrative that weaves a history of trans feminine people, practices, and revolutionaries into its tale of identity exploration. A producer for the Golden Globe-winning series Transparent, as well as an artist working in performance, video, and photography, Drucker brings a funny, critical, disturbing and provocative new voice to American media.

“She Gone Rogue,” which was part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, will be screened along with three other short pieces by Drucker, followed by a Q&A and reception with the artist.

This event is curated by Nicole Erin Morse with the support of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Curatorial Grant, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality’s Counter Cinema / Counter Media Project, the Office of LGBTQ Student Life, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture. It is affiliated with the Graduate Student Conference “Performing Bodies: Gesture, Affect, and Embodiment on Screen.”


Reception Tonight! Maddie Reyna at Roman Susan

Maddie Reyna: Song of the Summer
May 8, 2015 – May 30, 2015

When Maddie Reyna was a girl she fantasized about living in the mall. She would occupy a small gift shop and not alter the interior other than the addition of a bed. The shopping public would no longer be allowed in the store, but could see Maddie living her domestic life among the objects once sold there. For Roman Susan, this fantasy was built upon. The paintings depict flowers that can’t grow indoors, beds made out of sand, ghosts (or more accurately, a boner under a sheet) and present a tone that is naive about domesticity and functionality.


“Nonchalance in a Cult of Self”

In a mix of vintage with modern pieces, African prints with polka dots and plaid, flamboyant colors with classic lines, Dandy Lion brings together more than twenty-five established and emerging photographers and filmmakers in an attempt to redefine common stereotypes and preconceived notions about black men and black masculinity.

Kia Chenelle, The Waiting Man I, 2013

Kia Chenelle, The Waiting Man I, 2013

Victorian and Edwardian era Europe influences meet the contemporary Black Dandy in urban, rural –wildlife even– literal and abstract landscapes across the globe. In leopard suits and top hats, bow ties of colorful patterns and vibrant ensembles, these young, black men of meticulous grooming and very particular ideas of fashion and style prove that it is not all about playing dress up. With the Black dandyism and the photographic documentation thereof growing around the world, more than fabrics and fashion-consciousness are at stake. Deconstructing black men representation in popular culture, the twenty-first century dandies, challenge stereotypical images of masculinity within the global Black community, stressing the importance of self-actualization, self-importance and self-expression. Exploring notions of belonging and not belonging ­­–some sort of cultural resistance reflected in their clothing choices and elegant style– these bona fide rebels provide an alternative perspective recreating modern narratives of the contemporary Black man.

Dandyism is not a cult, it’s a lifestyle. It’s attitude –a choice that rises above dress choices and hair neat, clean and well-groomed. “Be clear: every brother in a zoot suit and bow tie does not a dandy make,” explains the exhibit curator Shantrelle P. Lewis. What more is there? As Baudelaire wrote some fifty years ago, “Dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his mind. Thus, in his eyes, enamored as he is above all of distinction, perfection in dress consists in absolute simplicity, which is, indeed, the best way of being distinguished. What then can this passion be, which has crystallized into a doctrine, and has formed a number of outstanding devotees, this unwritten code that has molded so proud a brotherhood? It is, above all, the burning desire to create a personal form of originality, within the external limits of social conventions.”

Like Baudelaire’s definition of dandyism, Dandy Lion moves beyond external appearances –that might, at first, seem of superficial nature­­– and across the fine line of style and substance. What it essentially showcases is the aesthetic sensibilities of African descent males –how and why they strategically use their clothing choices to define their identity in constantly changing cultural and political contexts. Functioning as status symbols, underneath their well-cut suits contemporary black dandies are fighters and conquerors –true to the exhibit’s title, lions at heart.

Allison Janae Hamilton, Tell me no tales, 2013

Allison Janae Hamilton, Tell me no tales, 2013