New
Museum
Upcoming

MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas

09/26/18-02/03/19

Chris E. Vargas will be the artist-in-residence through the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s Fall 2018 R&D Season.

Cover Image:

Chris E. Vargas, Transgender Hiroes, 2013. MOTHA promotional broadside, offset print on newsprint, 28 × 33 in (71 × 83.8 cm). Courtesy the artist

Fifth Floor Visit Us

With wry humor and incisive critique, Vargas parodies mainstream social and institutional codes to reimagine queer and trans experience and representation. Vargas is the founder of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), a semi-fictional institution that serves as a malleable platform for exhibiting transgender art and hirstory. Taking up the contested legacy of the word “history,” Vargas notes that “for millennia, the patriarchy has had versions of history; for a few years in the 1970s, some white feminists had herstory; but it hasn’t been until now that transgender people have finally had a gender-neutral hirstory all their own.”

At the New Museum, Vargas will continue work on his project Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects (2015–ongoing), a visual and material exploration of significant artifacts in the history of transgender communities. A creative and critical exploration of LGBTQI archives, Vargas’s ongoing project takes the form of exhibitions (of which this will be the fifth), publications, and touring performances in which the artist appears as the Executive Director of MOTHA.

This iteration of the project will explore Stonewall as a geographically, demographically, and historically contested site. Throughout MOTHA’s four-month exhibition, Vargas will question what we know about the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, often cited as a formative event for gay liberation as well as the modern LGBTQI civil rights movement in the United States. For years, many of the activists who led the fight against violence and police brutality against queer and trans people—including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major, and many others—were not properly recognized in popular accounts of Stonewall. Today, these figures are increasingly acknowledged in mainstream LGBTQI histories, yet narratives of their work often elide their more radical demands and critiques of racism, economic marginalization, and transphobia. Rather than construct a neat historical trajectory, Vargas’s project contends that attempting to narrate a stable history does the past a disservice. Acknowledging that the act of historicizing is inherently biased and often self-serving, MOTHA works with and against this bind, finding new ways to uncover, recast, and recuperate elements of the past.

The exhibition is curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring, Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, and Sara O’Keeffe, Associate Curator, with Kate Wiener, Curatorial Assistant.

Continue Reading

Sponsors

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by:
Laurie Wolfert
The Council for Artists Research and Residencies of the New Museum

Additional support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

Further exhibition support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Tickets and Member Information

Buy tickets in advance or purchase them at the Museum

Tickets are available for purchase online or at the Museum. If you'd like to get tickets at the Museum, view our visiting information and directions.

Get tickets
Get access to all exhibitions with a New Museum Membership

Membership at the New Museum is about seeing it first—whether that means moving to the front of the line or being among the first to preview what’s new in contemporary art.

Become a member

Current Exhibitions

See all Current Exhibitions R

Stay in touch

All Content is ©2012–2016 New Museum Of Contemporary Art. All Rights Reserved.

Site by: kettlecome say hi!

Back to mobile site