That’s So Gay 2014: On the Edge
That’s So Gay: On the Edge is a celebration of new projects created by LGBTTI2QQ artists about their experiences of disability, radicalization, class, and other intersectional experiences of identity. The show attempts to interrupt the idea of a singular queer community, and re-imagines what it means to talk about our lived experiences as artists from a diversity of backgrounds. Launched on the eve of World Pride 2014, the project necessarily responds to the construction of a simplified “LGBT” community in Toronto as posited in the bid for hosting the festival. As Toronto launches onto the world stage of LGBTTI2QQ activism, That’s So Gay: On the Edge will creatively explore difference through photography, performance, installation projects and large-scale works on paper.
That’s So Gay launched 5 years ago as a flirty protest, re-claiming an insult in the face of homophobia. 5 years later, it is essential that we move the conversation of what it means to be LGBTTI2QQ artists beyond its most narrow understanding. What is the meaning of having a ‘queer & trans art show’ in 2014? That’s So Gay: On the Edge expresses an uneasiness with this simplicity and suggests an impending switching of the record. The exhibition firmly plants disability arts as central to the discussion, and positions artists at the intersections as the core rather than the margins of the dialogue.
Artists like Hazel Meyer and Elizabeth Sweeney have been making work specifically about disability and queer identities, they bring this to the show this year. Each artist will work independently initially and then in collaboration to create installations in some of the rooms on the 2nd floor about their experiences of queer disability culture.
Artists like Alvis Parsley will bring a youth perspective to the dialogue, and connect this to their experience as a newcomer to Canada. Alvis’ past projects (such as Chinatown Community Think Tank) consider LGBTTI2QQ understandings of migration and community, and this acts in conversation with the work of Abdi Osman and his photo-based considerations of gender-play and muslim identity.
Regional artists such as Daryl James Bucar and Graham Kennedy bring location and rural experiences of queer and trans identities, racialization and difference to the show. Rebeka Tabobondung and Jo SImalaya Alcampo utilize new media and video as a way to understand traditional and indigenous knowledge and understandings of sexuality and gender. Performer/ printmaker Anna Jane McIntyre’s playful exploration of kink, sexuality and racialization will interact with Mary Tremonte’s considerations of queer and trans activist party culture and Mary’s desire to make transformative ‘print-stallation’ environments as part of considering queer public space will anchor the discussion firmly in the public sphere.
During the run of the exhibition there will be an artist talk, public performances and, finally, a panel discussion about disability, racialization and intersectionality and how this plays out in the artists’ work.
Participating Artists: Jo Simalaya AlCampo, Daryl James Bucar, Graham Kennedy, Anna Jane McIntyre, Hazel Meyer, Abdi Osman, Alvis Choi/Parsley, Elizabeth Sweeney, Rebeka Tabobondung, Mary Tremonte, Leah Lakshmi Piepsna-Samarasinha, Shimby Zegeye
Curated by: Syrus Marcus Ware Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting this exhibition.
That’s So Gay is the Gladstone Hotel’s annual gay pride art exhibition that explores themes around sexuality, gender and identity. That’s So Gay 2013 is curated by Elisha Lim. Curatorial Statement “That’s So Gay” was originally a flirty protest reclaiming an insult in the face of homophobia. This year’s exhibit pushes its community another step, to cross the line of racial and cisgendered segregation of both the traditional and queer art canons. The result is a reckoning with violence and bonding: a brown genderqueer self-portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, distorted diasporic family portraits, fragments of transit life in an airport lounge, estranged exes holding each others’ hands for the photographer, decapitated minotaurs twining themselves erotically around each other and a haunted line of Aboriginal armour and accessories. Much of the work has been curated internationally from New York, Paris, Melbourne and Montreal, but it also mines local history with meditated research into Canadian histories of sex work, slavery and genocide. This exhibit aspires to plumb the depths and contradictions and intersections of identity – and more than just scratch the surface of “gay”. So say it and mean it. Say it to my face. Image: From the series It’s Good To Be Needed by That’s So Gay featured artist Michèle Pearson Clarke
That’s So Gay Programming: June 27, 2013 | 7 – 10pm Parading Of The Icon / Coffee & Powder Supermodel Icon Kiley emerges from a hotel room to find themself at a fabulous hotel amongst art and sexy people. They explore the hotel with runway style parading, does an impromptu photo shoot then poses for pictures with fans. The night finishes with Kiley inviting people back to their room where they give an intimate show. A performance about the psychology and phenomenology of fame, as well as white skin beauty ideology and racism in the modeling and fashion industry. July 23, 2013 | 7 – 10pm ACTIVIST LOVE LETTERS by Syrus Marcus Ware || In Conversation: Michèle Pearson Clarke and Elisha Lim ACTIVIST LOVE LETTERS by Syrus Marcus Ware Join a host of local artists and activists as they read aloud letters that activists have sent to each other, and to the community. Bring your passion, feel the love and get inspired to write to someone working to make the world a place you want to live in; and/or a community that you want to be part of! ACTIVIST. LOVE. LETTERS! In Conversation: Michèle Pearson Clarke and Elisha Lim Join That’s So Gay curator Elisha Lim for an interview with featured artist Michèle Pearson Clarke. Michèle will be discussing the body of work featured in That’s So Gay, It’s Good To Be Needed. For this series, Michèle photographs queer women who are ex-partners, and who are not friends, holding hands with one other. Selected Press: NOW: So Gay, so good
2013 Participants: Jérôme Havre Textaqueen Adee Roberson Meera Sethi Sybil Lamb Zanette Singh Syrus Marcus Ware Michèle Pearson Clarke Nadijah Robinson Sarah Creagen Carla Molina Holmes Genesis Tremaine Ange Loft Kiley May Longboat Sharlene Bamboat & Alexis Mitchell
About the curator: Elisha Lim’s art, comics and videos focus on themes of racialized queerness. They have exhibited and screened internationally, proudly including the debut solo of Toronto’s notorious Feminist Art Gallery. They have lectured on race representation and gender neutral pronouns on panels, artist talks and United Nations conferences since 2009, and directed Montreal’s first Racialized Pride Week in 2012, for which they curated the central exhibit “2-Qtpoc” at the gallery articule. Their current film circuit short “100 Butches #9: Ruby” was controversially censored in Singapore and debuted this year at the London BFI.
Curated by Sholem Krishtalka Our 3rd annual Pride exhibition, That’s So Gay, will explore notions of queer gender identity in order to highlight and challenge the overly simplistic view of “man” and “woman”. Bending gender and objectification through many diverse lenses, That’s So Gay is sure to raise as many questions as it will answer.
Curatorial Statement Pride exhibits stereotypically involve representations of desire – men make art about male desire, women make art about female desire. In keeping with my ongoing project of using the That’s So Gay exhibit to expand on what Pride shows can be, and to use them to push and prod and stretch what “queer” can mean, I want to challenge that initial premise, and have male artists show work about women, and vice versa. This simplistic binary system itself raises an obvious and important issue: “man” and “woman” as gender identities, much less sexual object choices, are in and of themselves extremely complex, problematic and fluid. And an essential part of a queer life is the challenging and disruption of these categories. I want to introduce this binary in order to demonstrate its overly-simplistic falseness. I want to disrupt the stereotypical representation of sexual-object-choice; I want to open up those binaries to free interpretation by the artists; I want to show artists who themselves identify somewhere in the huge spectrum that exists between these binaries, and whose work will thusly interpret gender and desire freely and openly. -Sholem Krishtalka
Curated by Sholem Krishtalka