Fall 2018 R&D Season: GENERATION

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

The Fall 2018 R&D Season: GENERATION explores the dual meaning of the word: most obviously, the term generation refers to the ways culture and history are handed down over time via affiliation. Yet the word also conjures ways of making, of creating and bringing forth. With both meanings in mind, artist-in-residence Chris E. Vargas looks to Stonewall as a perpetually unfolding site.

The exhibition and residency MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas: Consciousness Razing—The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project” questions what we think we know about the 1969 Stonewall riots, often cited as a formative event for gay liberation and the modern LGBTQI civil rights movement in the United States. In order to expand how this complex history is memorialized, and to acknowledge the ways it has been manipulated, Vargas has invited an intergenerational group of artists to propose new monuments to the riots. These commemorations—by Chris Bogia, Jibz Cameron, Nicki Green, Martine Gutierrez, Sharon Hayes, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Catherine Lord, Devin N. Morris, D’hana Perry, Keijaun Thomas, Geo Wyeth, and Sarah Zapata—take up Stonewall’s legacy through radically different forms and on divergent terms. Vargas’s project contends that attempting to narrate a stable history does the past a disservice. Instead, MOTHA acknowledges that the act of historicizing is inherently biased and often self-serving, and finds new ways to uncover, recast, and recuperate elements of the past.

Public Programs

MOTHA Executive Director Address: Stones to the Wall
Saturday September 29, 3 PM
In a director’s address —chock full of puns and tongue-in-cheek asides—Chris E. Vargas introduces the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), exploring the stakes and challenges of creating a museum dedicated to trans hirstories while reckoning with the shifting, unstable nature of gender paradigms across different historical periods.

Imperfect Models: Memory, Monuments, and Memorialization
Thursday November 8, 7 PM
Bringing together scholars, cultural critics, and artists—including Nona Faustine, Kevin Mumford, Harriet F. Senie, and Jeanne Vaccaro—this panel will consider the histories and futures of monuments in the United States, with a particular focus on the possibilities and challenges of memorializing queer and trans hirstories.

Speculative Monuments: Show and Pray Tell with MOTHA’s Commissioned Artists
Thursday January 17, 7 PM
The Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA) presents an evening with the artists commissioned by MOTHA to propose new public artworks for Christopher Park, a national monument designated by President Obama in 2016 to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots.


Organized by the New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement, R&D (Research and Development) Seasons connect projects across multiple platforms around a new organizing theme each fall, spring, and summer. Seasonal themes are generated by artists-in-residence, and the department’s collaborations with artists lead to exhibitions, performances, conferences, screenings, publications, after-school programs for teens, Family Day activities, and archival research. Anchoring the Museum’s dedication to expanded forms of knowledge and cultural production, each theme is wide-ranging and limber rather than illustrative; participating artists, scholars, and curators raise topical questions and often test thematic limits.

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