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ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS for Visual AIDS’ 28th Annual Day With(out) Art

The New Museum is proud to partner with Visual AIDS on World AIDS Day for the premiere of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, Visual AIDS’ 28th annual Day With(out) Art project.

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye and Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and Brontez Purnell.

ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS will play in the New Museum Theater all day. The screening is free with Museum admission.

Mykki Blanco is a writer and international recording artist. Blanco first found fame as a fearless noise rap poet, publishing the book From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys. Blanco is known as one of hip-hop’s queer pioneers, amassing a vast global following with a savvy social media output, mixtapes like Gay Dog Food (2014), cult hits like “Kingpinning” (2012), and sensational videos like “Coke White, Starlight” (2015), “The Initiation” (2013), “Wavvy” (2012), and “Haze Boogie Life” (2012). Blanco has toured with Björk and recorded with Tricky and Basement Jaxx. In 2016, she released her debut album, MYKKI, to critical praise. She has been featured in the New York Times, on the covers of Gay Times and the Village Voice, and in Time Magazine, where she discussed what it means to be a musician living openly with HIV. Blanco lives and works internationally, primarily in Lisbon.

Cheryl Dunye emerged as part of the 1990s “queer new wave” of young film-and video-makers. Dunye has made over fifteen films, including HBO’s Stranger Inside (2001) and her debut film, The Watermelon Woman (1996), which was recently restored by Outfest’s UCLA Legacy Project for the film’s 20th anniversary. In 2016, Dunye received a Guggenheim Fellowship and became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Presently, Dunye is an assistant professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University; she is at work on her next feature film, Black Is Blue, and recently joined the directing team of the TV series Queen Sugar, created by Ava DuVernay for OWN. Dunye lives and works in Oakland, CA.

Reina Gossett is an artist and the 2017 Activist-in-Residence at Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW). While at BCRW, she directed The Personal Things, an animated short starring iconic trans activist Miss Major and exploring the everyday ways people fight back. Gossett often makes her art through collaboration. Along with Sasha Wortzel, she directed Happy Birthday, Marsha! (2017), a film about legendary performer and activist Marsha P. Johnson. Gossett is an editor of Trap Door, an anthology of trans art and cultural production, forthcoming from the New Museum and MIT Press. A longtime community organizer, Gossett worked as the membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, at Critical Resistance, and at Queers for Economic Justice, where she directed the Welfare Organizing Project and produced A Fabulous Attitude, documenting low-income LBGT New Yorkers. Gossett lives and works in New York.

Thomas Allen Harris is an award-winning director and president of Chimpanzee Productions, Inc., a company dedicated to producing feature-length films, performances, and live multimedia productions that illuminate the human condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Harris is a prolific gay artist who has exhibited in the 1995 Whitney Biennial and received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sundance Directors Fellowship. He has recently shown in the AfroPoP series produced by the National Black Programming Consortium at PBS. His personal and innovative films—_Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People_ (2014), Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (2005), E Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001), and Vintage: Families of Value (1995)—have received critical acclaim at international film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty, Cape Town, and Melbourne Arts Festival. Harris lives and works in New York.

Kia LaBeija is a contemporary artist who prompts awareness, acceptance, and activism for HIV/AIDS through her portraiture and performance art. Her work explores the intersections of community, politics, art, and activism. As a visual artist, she stages digital portraits as theatrical and cinematic reimaginings of real events to spark conversation, complicating the way we view her subjects and the spaces they occupy. LaBeija’s portraiture utilizes storytelling to preserve histories and make sociopolitical commentaries on current events. LaBeija was a featured artist in the exhibition “Art AIDS America” (2016) alongside Keith Haring, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others; she was the only woman of color, the only woman living with HIV, and the only artist born with HIV included in the exhibition. A performer by nature, LaBeija is a member of the Iconic House of LaBeija and uses voguing as performance practice and community-based work. LaBeija lives and works in New York.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a curator, visual artist, and filmmaker whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. Themes examined in McClodden’s films and artworks include re-memory, narrative biomythography, and shared ideas, values, and beliefs within the African Diaspora—what she calls “Black mentifact.” McClodden is interested in exploring intersubjectivity within Black communities as a tool for creating insider perspectives within film, time-based works, and objects. McClodden lives and works in Philadelphia.

Brontez Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. He is the author of Fag School (2003), The Cruising Diaries (2014), and Johnny Would You Love Me If . . . (My Dick Were Bigger) (2015); the frontman for his band The Younger Lovers; and founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). BPDC’s founders, Brontez Purnell and Sophia Wang, build works that combine punk-rock subversion, free jazz improvisation, and a company comprised of movers and artists of all disciplines. Purnell has recently turned from music and dance to writing, using his own experience and his incisive voice as an artist living with HIV to paint a vivid portrait of a sex life in the San Francisco Bay Area today. His new illustrated book, The Cruising Diaries, continues Purnell’s engagement with DIY literary and performing art. Purnell lives and works in Oakland, CA.

Erin Christovale is the Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. She is the curator of “Black Radical Imagination” with Amir George, which has screened both nationally and internationally in spaces such as MoMA P.S.1, MOCA Los Angeles, and the Museo Taller José Clemente Orozco. Exhibitions include “a/wake in the water: Meditations on Disaster” (2014) at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, “Memoirs of a Watermelon Woman” (2016) and “A Subtle Likeness” (2016) at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, and “S/Election: Democracy, Citizenship, Freedom” (2016) at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. She is currently organizing “Made in L.A.” (2018) with Anne Ellegood at the Hammer Museum.

Vivian Crockett is a New York–based independent researcher, scholar, and curator focusing largely on art of African diasporas, (Afro-)Latinx diasporas, and Latin America at the varied intersections of race, gender, and queer theory. She is a PhD candidate in art history at Columbia University, where her dissertation examines artistic practices and discourses in Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s. Her scholarly and cultural work seeks to assert a radically political analysis of modern and contemporary art and to foster the remembrance and visioning of cultural spaces that merge a commitment to artistic and cultural production with sociopolitical justice and collective liberation. She is the 2017–18 Mellon Museum Research Consortium Fellow in Media and Performance Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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