Co-Curated by Heather Lynn Johnson and Sarah Zapata
Queer|Art, New York City’s home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists, is pleased to announce the upcoming Fall season of Queer|Art|Film, presented in person from September 19th – December 5th. Queer|Art|Film returns once again to the IFC Center with a season curated by multidisciplinary artists Heather Lynn Johnson and Sarah Zapata. Each month Queer|Art invites their favorite queer artists to present a film that inspired them, then holds a fascinating post-screening Q&A that illuminates the film and its impact on our guest’s work and life.
This season, as we navigate a rollback of our right to bodily autonomy and rising fascist attacks on our community, these curators seek to find solace and solidarity in unexpected places, and offer not an escape but perhaps a re-lensing of the wavering world around us through films hand-picked by an impressive cohort of queer artists. The lineup includes performance icon Cassils alongside downtown darling Ela Troyano; interdisciplinary artist and oral historian Tamara Santibañez; multidisciplinary queer Caribbean artist Christopher Udemezue; and finally the truly legendary photographer and activist Lola Flash. The films promise to tickle all of your horror and sadomasochistic delights, so don’t miss these one-of-a-kind screenings!
Monday, September 19th
Cassils and Ela Troyano present Latin Boys Go to Hell
(Ela Troyano, 1997)
Five young Latinos with extreme passions interact and eventually explode across Brooklyn in this story of self-discovery, friction, and resentment. The film stars Irwin Ossa as 20-year-old Justin, John Bryant Davila as his handsome cousin Angel, and in his film debut, Mike Ruiz as Carlos. Presenting artist Cassils writes that “Ela cast Latin heartthrob Mike Ruiz, centering homosexual Latin representation over cis white West Hollywood twinkdom. This film flags John Waters, telenovela, and Pedro Almodóvar.” Shot in dreamy 16mm, the film glows with the fiery desire of its characters, who find themselves caught between their attraction to a machismo image and a longing for meaningful gay intimacy. Adapted from an unpublished novel by André Salas, this feature debut from legend of the downtown scene Ela Troyano is sure to get your blood pumping!
CASSILS is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils’ art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQIA+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils’s work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment. Cassils had recent solo exhibitions at HOME Manchester, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC; Institute for Contemporary Art, AU; Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands.
About Ela Troyano
Ela Troyano is a writer, director, producer, and interdisciplinary artist. Her projects bring together different aesthetic histories and genres, from downtown New York avant-garde film and performance, to queer cinema, and Latinx film and video as well as commercial television. Troyano received the Teddy Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for Carmelita Tropicana Your Kunst is Your Waffen—Your Art is Your Weapon, attended the Sundance Institute’s screenwriting workshop with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and received awards from Creative Capital, the Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, Independent Television Service, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Media, and a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship.
Monday, October 10th
Tamara Santibañez presents Bloodsisters: Leather, Dykes, and Sadomasochism
(Michelle Handelman, 1995)
Interdisciplinary artist Tamara Santibañez presents Bloodsisters: Leather, Dykes, and Sadomasochism, a deep dive into a community of Leatherdykes in San Francisco in the mid-90s. This debut documentary by filmmaker Michelle Handelman presents a rough collage of kink and BDSM practices, leaning into forms of play not often shown, even in queer films. From images of needle play to shots of extended BDSM scenes to tops directly addressing the audience as their submissives, the film is unflinching in its portrayal of this leather scene. Through collected interviews, an image of a community that is grappling with questions of forbidden desires, gender & sexual fluidity, and the politicization of their very existence begins to emerge. Between the bright colored overlays and the iconic 90s fashion (mullets everywhere!), the film itself transforms into a kind of a time capsule, documenting a moment in queer history in all its messy, complicated, campy glory.
About Tamara Santibañez
Tamara Santibañez is an interdisciplinary artist and oral historian living and working in Brooklyn. They approach the body as a site for archiving and accessing personal and collective narratives and view tattooing as a political intervention. As a queer and trans artist, their practice memorializes the language and resistance strategies used by “othered” populations to build alternative worlds.
Monday, November 7th
Christopher Udemezue presents Annihilation
(Alex Garland, 2018)
Multidisciplinary artist Christopher Udemezue presents Annihilation (2018) starring Natalie Portman as a biologist on an expedition into an environmental disaster zone created by a comet, as she looks for her husband who disappeared into the mysterious zone after volunteering to go on a special forces mission. Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Jeff Vandermeer, the film follows a team of all female scientists as they embark on what appears to be a suicide mission into the mysterious zone known as “The Shimmer”. The film, directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina), has drawn comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Annihilation challenges and expands upon what a sci-fi film can do while simultaneously grappling with massive existential questions and highly intimate personal ones in the lives of the characters. With a shocking ending that has kept audiences guessing for years following the film’s release, you won’t want to miss the chance to see this one on the big screen!
About Christopher Udemezue
Born in Long Island, NY, Christopher Udemezue has shown at a variety of galleries and museums, including the New Museum, Queens Museum of Art, PS1 MoMa, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Mercer Union, Recess Gallery and Anat Ebgi Gallery. Udemezue utilizes his Jamaican heritage, the complexities of desire for connection, healing through personal mythology and ancestry as a primary source for his work. As the founder of the platforms RAGGA NYC & CONNEK JA, he completed a residency with the New Museum “All The Threatened and Delicious Things Joining One Another” in June 2017. In 2018, Udemezue was in the New Museum’s “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” 40-year anniversary show and a part of the chosen artists in The Shed’s Open Call grant program/group show in 2019. In 2021, Chris was elected to be co-chair of the board at Recess Gallery, Brooklyn NY and had a solo show at Anat Ebgi Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
Monday, December 5th
Lola Flash presents Beasts of the Southern Wild
(Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
The fall 2022 season of Queer|Art|Film concludes with Beasts of the Southern Wild, a dystopian family drama that takes place on the edge of the world. Six-year-old Hushpuppy (played by the remarkable Quvenzhané Wallis) and her ailing father Wink live in ‘The Bathtub’ – an island in the Mississippi Delta at constant risk of flooding. As her father’s illness worsens, so too does the climate around them, as melting polar ice brings rising floodwaters and prehistoric beasts to bear on their small community. Shot in a cinema-verite style by debut director Benh Zeitlin, and featuring a cast of amateur actors from a small Louisiana parish, the film achieves a documentary style even as it tells a fantastical tale. As presenter Lola Flash writes, “it speaks to the strength of community and centers family, in much the same way our LGBTQ+ families are empowered.”
About Lola Flash
Lola Flash uses photography to challenge stereotypes and offer new ways of seeing that transcend and interrogate gender, sexual, and racial norms. Flash received their bachelor’s degree from Maryland Institute and Masters from London College of Printing, in the UK. Flash works primarily in portraiture, engaging those who are often deemed invisible. Flash has work included in important public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, MoMA, the African American Museum of Culture + History, in Washington, the Whitney and the Brooklyn Museum. Flash’s work welcomes audiences who are willing to not only look but see.
About the Curators
Heather Lynn Johnson is an artist and poet living in Brooklyn, New York. Their work is characterized by its lyricism and cultural critique. Centered around Black American liberation and culture with an emphasis on objectification and lost histories, Heather uses an autobiographical framework and considers her work imbued by her lived experience as a butch Black lesbian. Their recent solo exhibition “The Essence We Leave Behind” at Nesto Gallery in Milton, Massachusetts (2022), included paintings and selected poems. Heather has been a co-curator for Queer|Art|Film since 2020, the 2019 Leslie-Lohman Museum Fellow, and the 2017 Literary Fellow for Queer|Art|Mentorship. She is the author of The Survival Guide For Queer Black Youth (Inpatient Press, 2017) and received an MFA with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Sarah Zapata is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been shown throughout the United States, as well as Mexico, Peru and the Netherlands. Zapata’s studio practice is firmly based in Fiber Arts, utilizing traditional weaving, coiling and latch-hook techniques to achieve immersive installations. Inspired by her Peruvian heritage and feminist theory, Zapata’s body of work addresses issues of labor, systems of power and control, Queerness, cultural relativism and the intersectionality of identity. She has had solo shows at the Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, Museo MATE, Lima, Peru; Performance Space New York; Institute 193, Lexington, Kentucky; Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and El Museo Del Barrio, New York. She was a Queer|Art|Mentorship Literature Fellow in 2020.
Presently celebrating its 11th consecutive year, this popular screening series, traditionally held monthly at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, invites New York’s most notable and influential LGBTQ+ artists to present and discuss films that have inspired them. Presented with generous support from HBO, the series has hosted over 100 screenings and reaches more than 1,500 viewers annually. Past presenters include: Anohni, Kate Bornstein, Douglas Crimp, Miguel Gutierrez, Juliana Huxtable, Wayne Kostenbaum, Larry Kramer, Lisa Kron, Kia LaBeija, Craig Lucas, Genesis P-Orridge, Dee Rees, and Flawless Sabrina. Curated by Adam Baran, with special guest season curators.
Queer|Art was born out of the recognition of a generation of artists and audiences lost to the ongoing AIDS Crisis, and in a profound understanding that one of the many repercussions of that loss has been a lack of mentors and role models for a new generation of LGBTQ+ artists. Founded in 2009 by filmmaker Ira Sachs, Queer|Art serves as a ballast against this loss and seeks to highlight and address a continuing fundamental lack of both economic and institutional support for LGBTQ+ artists. Our mission is to provide individuals within our community with the tools, resources, and guidance they need to achieve success and visibility for their work at the highest levels of their field.
The current programs of Queer|Art include: the year-long Queer|Art|Mentorship program; the long-running Queer|Art|Film series, traditionally held monthly at the IFC Center in lower Manhattan; and Queer|Art|Awards, an initiative of grants, prizes, and awards that provides various kinds of direct support—monetary and otherwise—to LGBTQ+ artists.
A list of the intergenerational community of artists supported and brought together by Queer|Art includes: Silas Howard, Jennie Livingston, Matt Wolf, Hilton Als, Sarah Schulman, Pamela Sneed, Justin Vivian Bond, Jibz Cameron, Trajal Harrell, John Kelly, Geoffrey Chadsey, Everett Quinton, Geo Wyeth, Angela Dufresne, Nicole Eisenman, Avram Finkelstein, Chitra Ganesh, Pati Hertling, Jonathan Katz, Tourmaline & Sasha Wortzel, Jess Barbagallo, Morgan Bassichis, Monstah Black, Yve Laris Cohen, Troy Michie, Tommy Pico, Justin Sayre, Colin Self, Jacolby Satterwhite, Rick Herron, and Hugh Ryan, among many others.