Tag Archives: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City (Rivera)


Across his body of work, Reynaldo Rivera depicts people enmeshed in their own private worlds who completely transcend their surroundings through the force of imagination and their inner lives. This remains true, whether the subject is photographed in a garden, a public toilet, or a house party in pre-gentrified Echo Park. I think this is a primary difference between Rivera’s work and Nan Goldin’s, to whom his portraits of drag queens, trans women, and other friends might be compared. Goldin’s subjects in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency are downwardly mobile: middle class kids who took a wrong turn, captured in louche dens of bohemian squalor during emotionally intimate scenes… Rivera’s photographs of drag performers taken in Latino gay bars in LA between 1989 and 1997 reflect a different kind of collaboration. He sees his subjects less as they “are” than how they most wish to be seen, lending himself to their dreams and illusions of glamour. And why shouldn’t these dreams be realized?Chris Kraus*

This week, Linda Simpson and Reynaldo Rivera will present their new books—The Drag Explosion and Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City—and join artist and editor Alex Jovanovich in conversation.

See link below to register for the online event.


Artforum / Bookforum

Tuesday, December 15.

4 pm on the West Coast; 7 pm East Coast.

*Chris Kraus, from her introduction to Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City (South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2020).

Linda Simpson (images in color, from top): RuPaul, 1992; group of drag performers, including Lady Bunny (far left); Dean Johnson, 1987; RuPaul; event card image courtesy and © Artforum and Bookforum. Images © Linda Simpson, courtesy of the artist.

Reynaldo Rivera (images in black and white, from above): Echo Park (self-portrait), 1996; Vaginal Davis, Downtown, 1993; Cindy Gomez, Echo Park, 1992; Elyse Regehr and Javier Orosco, Downtown LA, 1989). Images © Reynaldo Rivera, courtesy of the artist


Coincident with the exhibition of his works in the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2020 biennial, Reynaldo Rivera will join Chris Kraus—who wrote a contributing essay for the forthcoming monograph Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes for a Disappeared City—in conversation as part of ArtCenter’s online Graduate Art Seminar series.

For r.s.v.p. information, see link below.


ArtCenter Graduate Art Seminar

Tuesday, November 10.

7:30 pm on the West Coast; 10:30 am East Coast.

A signed limited edition of Reynaldo Rivera—which Includes a 7 x 7 archival pigment print on Canson Platine of Gaby and Melissa at La Plaza, 1993—is available.

Reynaldo Rivera, from top: Performers la Plaza,1992; Made in L.A. 2020: a version, Hammer Museum, installation views (2), photographs by Joshua White / JWPictures.com; Reynaldo Rivera: Provisional Notes of a Disappeared City cover image courtesy and © the artist and Semiotext(e); Chris Kraus; backstage at La Plaza; Gaby and Melissa at La Plaza, 1993. Images © Reynaldo Rivera, courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York and Los Angeles.