Gladstone Gallery presents LAND OF DREAMS, a new body of work by Shirin Neshat.
Comprised of more than 100 photographs and a two-channel film installation, LAND OFDREAMS marks a significant visual and conceptual shift for the artist, who has turned her lens to the landscape and people of the American West. For this exhibition, Neshat will present the entire collection of photographs from this series as well as both films, which will be complemented by an online viewing room and virtual screenings throughout the show’s run.*
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 Dependencyare 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*
The subjects in [my] early portraits were friends or acquaintances I was just getting to know, some of whom would become good friends, some with whom I would eventually lose touch. Some I have reconnected with. It was important in deciding to make portraits that they be of people with whom I desired friendship, platonic or romantic relationships. It was also a conscious decision that, regardless of the nature of our connection, the photographs would depict them as if they were, could be, or had been a lover. I wanted that kind of desire to be the foundation, to go all the way and then negotiate back. — Paul Mpagi Sepuya*
*“Interview with Paul Mpagi Sepuya by Wassan Al-Khudhairi,” in PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA (St. Louis: Contemporary Art Museum; New York: Aperture, 2020).
Published on the occasion of the exhibition Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Contemporary Art Museum St.Louis, May 17, 2019–August 18, 2019; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, October 19, 2019–March 14, 2020. Organized by Wassan Al-Khudhaiti, chief curator, with Misa Jeffereis, assistant curator.
My practice as a visual activist looks at black resistance—existence as well as insistence. Most of the work I have done over the years focuses exclusively on black LGBTQIA and gender-nonconforming individuals making sure we exist in the visual archive… The key question that I take to bed with me is: what is my responsibility as a living being—as a South African citizen reading continually about racism, xenophobia, and hate crimes in the mainstream media? This is what keeps me awake at night. — Zanele Muholi
ZANELE MUHOLI—the first comprehensive survey of the work of the photographer and visual activist—is now on view in London.
See link below for exhibition details. Also, watch a conversation between Muholi and Lady Phyll.