OCT. 2, 2018 – MARCH 17, 2019
a r m s
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Nancy Brooks Brody
: fierce pussy amplified
Opening: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018
5:30 p.m. artists’ tour with Jo-ey Tang, Director of Exhibitions | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. reception
Free and open to the public.
Beeler Gallery dedicates Season ONE (October 2018 – March 2019) to the individual art practices of the four original core members of fierce pussy, the New York-based queer art collective – Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, and Carrie Yamaoka.
Formed in New York City in 1991 through their immersion in AIDS activism during a decade of increasing political mobilization around gay rights, fierce pussy brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets. Low-tech and low-budget, the collective responded to the urgency of those years, using readily available resources: old typewriters, found photographs, their own baby pictures, and the printing supplies and equipment accessible in their day jobs. fierce pussy was composed of a fluid and often shifting cadre of members. Four of the original core members — Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, and Carrie Yamaoka — continue to work together.
arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified tracks each artist’s work from the 1990s to the present and draws upon the collective power, shared tactics, and diversity of their works. The works, some of which will be created specifically for the season, will be installed in four movements or “chapters.” Each chapter will include works from all four artists in different configurations to amplify the four art practices as living, breathing entities. It is the first time the works of the four artists are put into direct inquiry. A gallery containing artifacts and documentation of fierce pussy will be on view.
(Chapter One begins Oct. 2, Chapter Two begins Nov. 14, Chapter Three begins Jan. 16, and Chapter Four begins Feb. 13. Please check back on our chapters schedule.)
The season activates the perceptual and political agencies and art historical concerns in their works, in light of the political power of their collective. Among the convergences and resonances is the vital role of abstraction as manifestation of refuge, necessity, and resistance. Just as fierce pussy made the visibility of lesbian identity a political cause as a collective, this season argues that the visibility of each member’s art practice is equally potent.
The four words in the season’s title — arms ache avid aeon — come from Yamaoka’s 1991 piece A is for Angel, which features words gathered from typewriter correction ribbons she collected from friends. This early text-based work serves as a powerful metaphor for making visible what has been erased in our daily lives, culture, and society, as the season likewise provides a critical platform for the visibility of their individual art practices.
A sense of political consciousness inflects the four artists’ works, as does a deep investigation of time, space, perception, and materials. In many of the four artists’ works, abstraction serves as a form of resistance by pointing toward the limits of perception and visual representation. Yamaoka’s early work Archipelagoes (1991 – 94) a set of 18 chemically altered gelatin silver prints, maps a landscape of detention by naming places of quarantine, incarceration, and internment. Episalla’s untitled (curtain) (1993/2018), a large-scale photograph taken when visiting a friend in the hospital during the early years of the AIDS crisis, led to an ongoing photographic series of curtains that spans over two decades. Her recent foldtograms series continues her interests in the malleable materiality of the photographic surface and image.
Leonard’s series of Sun Photographs (beginning in 2010) resists the basic rule of photography by pointing the camera at the sun. In Brody’s Glory Holes painting series (2008 – present), the artist mixes black, white, and gray paint with the colors of the rainbow, which are revealed only through sustained looking.
As part of arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified, Beeler Gallery works closely with the artists to conceive public events, such as talks, performances, and a symposium, to contextualize their practices and affinities. For more info on related programming, please go here.
Commissioned writing by Jill H. Casid and Elisabeth Lebovici will be conducted during the season. Both are participants of a symposium taking place on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Jill H. Casid is a 2018–19 Clark Art Institute Fellow and Professor of Visual Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she founded and served as the first director of the Center for Visual Cultures. Elisabeth Lebovici is the author of What AIDS Has Done to Me: Art and Activism at the End of the 20th Century, which won the Pierre Daix Prize, an award given to an art history book covering modern or contemporary art in France. Lebovici also served as the arts and culture editor for the daily newspaper Libération from 1991 to 2006.
arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified is conceived and curated by Director of Exhibitions Jo-ey Tang, and co-organized with Assistant Director of Exhibitions Ian Ruffino, and Registrar Marla Roddy.
Early support of the project for Jo-ey Tang included Denniston Hill, Woodridge, NY and Rupert, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Season One: arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified is co-sponsored by Stonewall Columbus, and Denison University Studio Art Program, Queer Studies Program, and English Department.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
NANCY BROOKS BRODY (born 1962) lives in New York City and works mainly in painting, drawing and sculpture. Brody has had solo exhibitions at Fortnight Institute, New York (2018); Galerie Joseph Tang, Paris, (no relation) curated by Jo-ey Tang (2015); and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2014). She has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2018); Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston (2018); Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, New Museum, New York (2017 – 18); Bortolami Gallery, New York (2017); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2015); Frac Haute-Normandie, France (2015); The Camera Club of New York (2015); and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (2015). Her first group exhibition was at Club 57, New York, curated by Keith Haring (1980). Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; FRAC Haute-Normandie, France; and Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. In 2015, she co-curated (with Jonathan Berger), David Nelson, at 80WSE Gallery, New York University.
JOY EPISALLA (born 1957) lives in New York City and works in the intersection between photography, video, and sculpture. Episalla has had solo exhibitions and projects at Galerie Joseph Tang, Paris (2018); International Center of Photography, New York (2016); Participant, Inc., New York (2015); Debs & Co., NYC (1998, 1999, 2002, 2004) and Mercer Union, Toronto (2000). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2018); Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2016); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2015); The Camera Club of New York (2015); Brooklyn Museum (2012); Artists Space, New York (2006); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2005); Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2002); White Columns, New York (1994, 1997, 2010); Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (1998); and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London (1996). Her work is included in the collections of Baltimore Museum of Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
ZOE LEONARD (born 1961) lives in New York City. An artist who works primarily with photography and sculpture, Leonard has exhibited extensively since the late 1980s, including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2013 – 14); Camden Arts Centre, London (2012); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2009); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2009); Reina Sofia, Madrid (2008), Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York (2008); The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2007); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2007); Philadelphia Museum of Art (1998); Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (1997); Secession, Vienna (1997), and The Renaissance Society, Chicago (1993). Group exhibitions include Documenta IX (1992); Documenta XII (2007); and Whitney Biennials in 1993, 1997, and 2014. Publications include Analogue (2007), Zoe Leonard: Photographs (2008), You see I am here after all (2010), Available Light (2014), and Survey (2018).
CARRIE YAMAOKA (born 1957) lives in New York City. Her work traverses painting, drawing, and sculpture. She is a 2017 recipient of Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Yamaoka has had solo exhibitions at Lucien Terras Gallery, New York (2015); Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2014); Debs & Co., New York (1997, 2000, 2002, and 2004); Robeson Art Gallery, Rutgers University, New Jersey (2000); and Swarthmore College (1990). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris (2018); Galerie Crèvecoeur, Marseille, France (2018); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2015); The Camera Club of New York (2015); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2009); La MaMa La Galleria, New York (2008); Artists Space (2006); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2005); Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2002); Victoria & Albert Museum, London (1996); and New Langton Arts, San Francisco (1991). Her work is included in the collections of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. An upcoming solo exhibition will take place at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2019).
Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, and Carrie Yamaoka participated in Dust: The Plates of the present, curated by Sonel Breslav, The Camera Club of New York at Baxter Street, New York City (2015) and Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris (2017), as part of a photogram project co-organized by Jo-ey Tang and Thomas Fougeirol.
Formed in New York City in 1991 through their immersion in AIDS activism during a decade of increasing political mobilization around gay rights, fierce pussy brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets. Low-tech and low-budget, the collective responded to the urgency of those years, using readily available resources: old typewriters, found photographs, their own baby pictures, and the printing supplies and equipment accessible in their day jobs. Originally fierce pussy was composed of a fluid and often shifting cadre of members. Four of the original core members — Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, and Carrie Yamaoka — continue to work together.
fierce pussy projects have included wheat pasting posters on the street, renaming New York City streets after prominent lesbian heroines, redesigning the restroom at an LGBT community center, printing and distributing stickers and T-shirts, a greeting card campaign, a video PSA, and, more recently, installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums. fierce pussy has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2015) and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2009), and had a retrospective of fierce pussy at Printed Matter, New York (2008). In June 2018, the collective debuted AND SO ARE YOU, a project for Queer Power: the yearlong facade installation at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York.
An interview with fierce pussy on their project AND SO ARE YOU at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York for BOMB Magazine, here.