I'm Kenney Mencher. I'm an artist who left a tenured professorship in 2016 to pursue making art full time. This blog is about art, art history, with a emphasis on human rights. I make homoerotic art featuring bears, otters & other gay wildlife.
2020-2021 QAM Fellow Eva Reign, by Arantza Pena Popo for 'them' column, "In Bloom: The Life Column with Eva Reign"
QUEER|ART EVENTS: DECEMBER 2020
ARCANUM, the universal 2020 Queer|Art Annual Exhibition, continues to expand, plus much more...
Wow, 2020 is almost behind us. As we reflect on an unprecedented period in many of our lives, we at Queer|Art are taking some time to be grateful for the artists who pushed through the challenges of the year and made work that helped us get through it, too.
But it's not quite over yet! This month we have three virtual events for ARCANUM (2020 Queer|Art|Mentorship Annual exhibition):Lit Chat! with Raja Feather Kelly, Mariá José Maldonado, and Sarah Zapata on December 3rd; María José Maldonado's The Last Men on Earth on December 10th; and Sarah Zapata's An instep along the self edge on December 17th.
And looking ahead to next year, applications are now open (through January 21) for The 2021 Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers, a $10,000 international grant.
Live conversations with QAM Mentors Nelson Santos & Lola Flash (Dec. 1st and 2nd)
In Bloom: The Life Column with Eva Reign, a column for them, by incoming QAM Fellow Eva Reign
76 Days, directed by QAM Mentor Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous, will be available to stream in the U.S. via virtual cinema on Dec. 4th
A work-in-progress screening of WEDNESDAY and the premiere of HYSTERIA by graduating QAM Fellow Raja Feather Kelly at NYLA (Dec. 4th, and 9th-12th)
A virtual book launched organized by QAM Fellow Jeanne Vaccaro for We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Dec. 6th)
A virtual book launch for QAM Mentor Carlos Motta's new monograph, History's Backrooms (Dec. 8th)
An artist talk with QAM Fellow Jarrett Key on their solo show, Chosen Family (Dec. 9th)
Queer|Art|Film: Protest artist The Uhuruverse presents The Wiz (Dec. 14th)
A virtual book launch for QAM Mentor Pamela Sneed's book, Funeral Diva (Dec. 18th)
More on these, online-accessible works, and December events below!
- Evan Scott, Newsletter Editor
ARCANUM The 2019-2020 Queer|Art|Mentorship Annual Exhibition October 29 - January 7
In-progress shot of Sarah Zapata's dreamscape within the “ARCANUM” Cyber Gallery, produced in collaboration with gabbah baya and Natalie Valcourt
Queer|Art is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Queer|Art|Mentorship Annual Exhibition: ARCANUM, open from October 29, 2020 through January 7, 2021. The exhibition features new and ongoing work by the graduating Fellows of the organization’s celebrated Queer|Art|Mentorship (QAM) program and comprises interactive multimedia installations and events focused on revitalizing the intergenerational and interdisciplinary art of storytelling. Combining both digital components and outdoor activations throughout New York City, the sprawling exhibition includes a virtual gallery with game-like installations, outdoor performances, and live-streamed readings, artist talks, and screenings. ARCANUM is curated by Anthonywash.Rosado, and includes work by: Brian Gonzalez, Patrick G. Lee, María José Maldonado, Felli Maynard, Olaiya Olayemi, Sarah Sanders, and Sarah Zapata.
The centerpiece of ARCANUM is a virtual gallery, hosted on the Queer|Art website for the duration of the exhibition. Entering the website, visitors will find the traditional gallery format has been alchemized into a cosmic dreamscape, complete with seven orbiting planets uniquely constructed by the Fellows. Within these self-contained worlds, produced in collaboration with artists and digital engineers gabbah baya and Natalie Valcourt, each Fellow offers their own stories as told through their chosen media. At the nucleus of the exhibition’s virtual galaxy is the Ofrenda (Altar) to Queer Ancestor Artists, which features artworks by Afro-diasporic and Queer ancestors assembled in collaboration with VisualAIDS, The LGBT Community Center, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
More on the exhibition's December/January events below, and on the exhibition here!
Lit Chat! With Raja Feather Kelly, Mariá José Maldonado, and Sarah Zapata Streaming: Thursday, December 3rd, 5pm ET Join us for a fun, lit, and eclectic fireside reading from this year's current QAM Literature Fellows: Raja Feather Kelly, María José Maldonado, and Sarah Zapata. This event will feature intimate portraits of each writer, their work and their process.
Part performance, part interview, part talk show, and part party, this event promises to shed light on what it takes each artist to bring their ideas to the forefront of their mind, their pencils to the page, their fingers to the keys, and to realize their work in their own voices.
María José Maldonado: The Last Men on Earth Streaming: Thursday, December 10th, 4-5pm ET QAM Literature Fellow María José Maldonado will be performing a live reading of their novel-in-progress, The Last Men On Earth, which takes place in 2126, in a future where cisgender boys and men have begun to menstruate due to the dwindling human population caused by climate change, disease and dangerous governments. The Last Men On Earth is a coming of age story set in Queens, NY and follows the life of a newly menstruating seventeen-year-old Salvadoran-American boy named Benicio “Beni” Torres. To be followed by a conversation with their QAM Mentor, Charles Rice-Gonzalez. More info and RSVP here
Sarah Zapata: An instep along the self edge Thursday, December 17th, 5pm ET Through a practice of textiles and foot erotica, QAM Literature Fellow Sarah Zapata engages elements of control and performativity to create immersive fantasies.
Please join us for a studio visit and conversation exploring Zapata's work and writing she has been developing throughout the past year.
Felicita “Felli” Maynard: Primp Streaming: Thursday, January 7th, 5-6pm ET QAM Visual Art Fellow Felicita “Felli” Maynard shares an intimate short film introducing male impersonator Jean Loren Feliz, a fictional character inspired by 1920s drag kings such as Florence Hines, Gladys Bentley, and Storme Delarverie. The piece strips the everyday life of Jean to its core as we are welcomed to their home and how they live.
APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN The Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers Deadline: January 21st
Alex at Queer Prom Youth, Alabama, 2018. Image courtesy of Annie Flanagan, winner of the 2020 Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers.
In partnership with The Robert Giard Foundation, Queer|Art’s first international grant of $10,000 supports the creation of work by emerging LGBTQ+ photographers. The Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers is made possible entirely through support provided by The Robert Giard Foundation.
“Photography is par excellence a medium expressive of our mortality, holding up, as it does, one time for the contemplation of another time. This motif infuses all portrait photography with a special poignancy. It is my wish that tomorrow, when a viewer looks into the eyes of the subjects of these pictures, he or she will say in a spirit of wonder, ‘These people were here; like me, they lived and breathed.’ So too will the portraits respond, ‘We were here; we existed. This is how we were.’” - Robert Giard
Previously known as The Robert Giard Fellowship (2008-2018), the grant is named in honor of photographer Robert Giard (1939-2002), a portrait, landscape, and figure photographer whose work focused on LGBTQ+ lives and issues. The grant focuses on supporting emerging LGBTQ+ photographers whose projects address issues of sexuality, gender, or LGBTQ+ identity. This year, the grant winner will receive $10,000, and the first-runner up will receive $5,000.
Funds can be requested to support new or ongoing work at any stage of development. For questions, email Robert Giard Grant Manager Ka-Man Tse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS MONTH'S EVENTS, AND ACCESSIBLE ARTWORKS BY QUEER|ART ARTISTS
Lola Flash Wednesday, December 2nd, 5:30pm ET: Artist talk On December 2nd, ICP will host a virtual evening with 2019-2020 QAM Mentor Lola Flash for their ICP Talks series. Flash will share insights into her most recent projects including, syzygy, the vision, which began in 2019 during her stay in the Woodstock Artist in Residency program and was reignited in the wake of COVID, as well as her strategies for inciting change through creative practice. More info here
Christina Quintana (CQ) December 3rd-6th: Enter Your Sleep Enter Your Sleep, a new production written by 2016-2017 QAM Fellow Christina Quintana (CQ), will premiere via Zoom Theatre this month. Directed by Margaret Hee, the show follows childhood best friends, Glory Zico and P.K. Whylde, who meet in a wild night of dreams to unravel their complex friendship, battle their sadness, and, ultimately, face a looming, dark truth. Throughout the wild ride, Z and P.K. visit their worst fears and challenge one another and themselves as they transform into figures from their lives and imaginations. More info/RSVP here!
Raja Feather Kelly December 4th, 6:30pm ET: ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY December 9th-12th: HYSTERIA 2019-2020 QAM Fellow Raja Feather Kelly will present two works as part of their New York Live Arts’ 2019–2020 RCA program. First, he'll play host to a watch party of his in-process documentary, ANY GIVEN WEDNESDAY, co-directed with Laura Snow. In this first part of what will be a feature-length doc, Kelly and the feath3r theory are captured during the making of the stage production, WEDNESDAY, that dismantles the film Dog Day Afternoon, and is set to premiere at NYLA in 2021. RSVP here
Then, from December 9th-12th, each day at 7pm ET, Kelly will present HYSTERIA, a performance and installation piece being created live on December 9th and 10th, and premiering virtually on December 11th and 12th. This work continues the artist's study of pop culture and its displacement of queer Black subjectivity, picking up where 2018's UGLY left off. RSVP here
Hao Wu Streaming December 4th : 76 Days 76 Days, co-directed by Current QAM Mentor Hao Wu (with Weixi Chen and Anonymous), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Raw and intimate, the documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. The film is available to stream online beginning December 4th, via a virtual cinema that supports a chosen theater in the U.S., here
Jeanne Vaccaro / Sasha Wortzel We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics Sunday, December 6th, 7pm ET: Book Launch Join ONE Archives at USC and organizer/2018-2019 QAM Fellow Jeanne Vaccaro for a reading to celebrate the lives and work of contributors Sylvia Rivera, Leslie Feinberg, Bryn Kelly, and Lou Sullivan to We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. This event will include readings by Gaines Parker, Ellis Martin & Zach Ozma, Ariel Goldberg, 2012-2013 QAM Fellow Sasha Wortzel's film This is an Address, Robert Giard's photos of Leslie Feinberg & Minnie Bruce Pratt, and reading of Leslie Feinberg's Letter To Theresa.
Register here for the event here, and more on the book, published by Nightboat, here
Carlos Motta December 8th, 7pm ET: History's Backrooms book launch Through February 14th: We Got Each Other's Back 2020-2021 QAM Mentor Carlos Motta's work can be seen at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, in the exhibition We Got Each Other's Back, on view through February 14th. Part of a long-term documentary project by Motta— in collaboration with artists Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez– the work is a three-part, multi-channel video installation featuring portraits of queer artists and activists in the United States who are or have been openly undocumented, and who are producing work to denounce historic and present-day broken US immigration policies. More info here
And, virtually join Motta and other guests for the launch of the artist's new monograph, History's Backrooms, on December 8th at 7pm ET. More here
Jarrett Key December 9th - January 3rd: Chosen Family Artist talk: December 9th at 7pm ET 2017-2018 QAM Fellow Jarrett Key's solo exhibition, Chosen Family, will be the inaugural exhibition at Yng-Ru Chen's Praise Shadows Gallery in Boston. A continuation of their Leaving the City series, the nine works featured in the show depict members of Key’s chosen family in relationship to the natural splendor of landscapes, painted on wet cement. More here
QUEER|ART|FILM: THE WIZ December 14th, 8-9pm ET: The Uhuruverse presents Sydney Lumet's The Wiz Organized by curators Adam Baran and Heather Lynn Johnson, this season of Q|A|F takes a close look at chosen family and notions of "home" during a time when America is forced to examine its atrocities against Black lives and the damaging effects of COVID-19. For December: The Wiz.
Presenter, protest artist The Uhuruversewrites of the 1978 film "THE WIZ! What can I say about the Wiz!? WOW! THE WIZ changed my life forever! And my art! THE WIZ made me believe in myself as Lena Horne sung to the ears of Black angel babies all over the world! THE WIZ gave me all the life in Emerald City as THE WIZ dictated what the color was and the dancers performed the most fabulous, glamorous, style, and fashion and LEWKS that I have ever seen in my LIFE to date! THE WIZ showed me music with icons like Diana Ross! The Wiz changed the game for a Kansas born artist! It SLAYED The Wizard of Oz!I saw A-R-T for the first time... ” Check out The Uhuruverse's full statement and RSVP here!
Pamela Sneed December 18th, 6pm ET: Funeral Diva book launch 2020-2021 QAM Pamela Sneed will celebrate the launch of her new book, Funeral Diva, along with Eric Rhein and his new book, Lifelines, at the Bureau of General Services - Queer Division at The Center, on December 18th. Readings will be followed by a discussion about their art, work, and poetry, with 2018-2019 QAM Mentor Nelson Santos. More forthcoming here
And check out a write-up on the book by Parul Sehgal for The NY Times' Books of the Times here!
Nelson Santos Leaves in Fort Greene Park 2018-2019 QAM Mentor Nelson Santos s also, in an unofficial artist residency, created and installed jeweled, beaded, and bedazzled leaves, hanging in trees throughout Fort Greene Park. Check out the foliage here
Justin Allen Streaming work in virtual exhibition for Performa: LEAN 2017-2018 QAM Fellow Justin Allen's work, Explain Totality (version 3), will stream daily from 11am-12pm ET through January 31st, as part of the online video exhibition LEAN, guest-curated by Legacy Rusell, for Performa's Radical Broadcast channel. The work is third in a series of performances focused on the intersection of suburban history and punk history, and it incorporates endurance, moshing movement, text, and live vocals. Check it out on Performa's homepage here