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Stonewall Is Not Here Yet

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Sharon Hayes, Stonewall is not here yet, 2018.

On December 1st, the annual Day Without Art—a national day of action in response to the AIDS crisis—the Department of Education and Public Engagement will present “Stonewall is Not Here Yet,” an afternoon of readings organized by artist Sharon Hayes and Chris E. Vargas on the occasion of the exhibition and residency MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing—The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project.” This event will bring together artists, lawyers, poets, and activists—including Janani Balasubramanian, Eduardo Restrepo Castaño, Joan Gibbs, and Río Sofia—to share texts that reflect on queer liberation and futurity.

Vargas is the founder of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), a semi-fictional, transient institution that serves as a platform for exhibiting trans hirstory and cultural production. This iteration of the project at the New Museum explores Stonewall as a geographically, demographically, and historically contested site. In order to expand how this complex history is memorialized, Vargas has invited an intergenerational group of artists to propose new monuments to the riots.

This program is developed around Sharon Hayes’s proposal for the exhibition, in which she frames Stonewall as a site that is not bound by time or space, citing José Esteban Muñoz’s provocation in Cruising Utopia (2009) that “Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. Put another way, we are not yet queer.” Redirecting Muñoz’s statement, Hayes writes: “Stonewall is not here. Stonewall is not here yet.” To commemorate the dynamic history of Stonewall, she proposes a roving 1969 station wagon equipped with a speaker system for hosting itinerant readings and speeches across the country. Readings would always include legendary activist Sylvia Rivera’s powerful speech about Stonewall’s legacy, which she delivered at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in 2001, in addition to a wide range of materials from sources both pre- and post-Stonewall, pointing to the potentiality of all that Stonewall could be.

Attendance is free with paid Museum admission.

Sharon Hayes (b. 1970) uses multiple mediums—video, performance, and installation—in an ongoing investigation into various intersections between history, politics and speech. Sharon Hayes’s work has been shown at the New Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Art In General, Artists Space, Parlour Projects, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the WOW Cafe in New York, the Room Gallery at UC Irvine, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Track 16, Gallery 2102, and The Project in Los Angeles.

In addition, she has shown at the Tate Modern in London, Museum Moderner Kunst and the Generali Foundation in Vienna, the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, and in galleries, exhibition and performance spaces in California, Florida, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont, Bogotá, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmö, Vienna, Vancouver, and Zagreb, as well as in forty-five lesbian living rooms across the United States. Hayes’s work was shown in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and in Greater New York at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. Additionally, her work was exhibited in the Istanbul Biennial in 2009, the Yokohama Triennial 2008, Guangzhou Triennial in 2008, and PERFORMA05. Her collaborative piece, 9 Scripts from a Nation at War, made with Andrea Geyer, Ashley Hunt, Katya Sander and David Thorne, was shown in Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, and subsequently at the Tate Modern in London and REDCAT in Los Angeles. Hayes is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union. She is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.

Chris E. Vargas (b. 1978) is a video-maker and interdisciplinary artist originally from Los Angeles and currently based in Bellingham, WA. From 2008 to 2013, Vargas collaborated with Greg Youmans to make the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love . . . with Chris and Greg. With Eric Stanley, he codirected the short film Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2015), which have screened at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; LACE, Los Angeles; Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow; the New Museum; and other venues. He is the executive director of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), a conceptual arts and hirstory institution that highlights trans art’s contributions to the cultural and political landscape. Iterations of MOTHA have been presented at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013).

Sponsors

New Museum public programs are made possible, in part, through the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Support for “MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing—The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project” can be viewed here.

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