Artist Collaborations

  • Justin Vivian Bond: My Model Myself

    'My Model / My Self' is a body of new and existing video, performance, text, print, sculptural and a series of watercolour works, combined in one installation.

    At the heart of the exhibition is a collection of watercolour paintings: a series of Diptychs consisting of portraits of model Karen Graham and Mx Bond. Karen Graham was the face of Estée Lauder Cosmetics from 1970-1985. Juxtaposed with self-portraits of Mx Bond these watercolours reflect and enhance the obsessive nature of the relationship, which developed during V’s adolescence, with the model who V describes “as blank and perfect as the sphinx - only more modern and wearing LOTS of make-up”.

    With these images of Karen Graham and throughout the exhibition Mx Bond explores the gateway to self- determination “presented by a subjective association with an external image which allowed me to aspire to internally create an image of myself and for myself where I was able to live in a private state of grace.”

    The title of the show 'My Model / My Self' references the pop-psychology book “My Mother My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity” which was originally published in 1977 by feminist author Nancy Friday. Drawing parallels between this book and the difficulties inherent in the search of the “transchild” to find suitable role models within a traditional familial structure, “My Model /My Self” becomes about a journey to escape traditional gender roles through a capitalist phantasm of self-creation as a survival mechanism.

    The signifiers of these phantasms are reflected throughout the exhibition by commercially produced, limited edition wallpapers (in collaboration with wallpaper designer George Venson of Voutsa), posters (which include re-contexutalized images of “tear-outs” of photographs of Karen Gramham taken by Viktor Skebneski for Estée Lauder ads) , and sculptural installations including “My Model / My Self” paperback books. These posters, wallpapers and books create a space for contemplation, expectation, and a possibility for the public fulfillment of privately conceived potentialities.

    Throughout the length of the private view, Mx Bond will occasionally appear in performance as the gallery window is transformed into a public/private space with a “step and repeat” made of customised artist wallpaper and set with a red carpet and velvet rope. The artist instructs that this space is only to be occupied by Vivian Bond or Karen Graham. Occasionally the step and repeat will be activated with a performance by Justin Vivian Bond who will occupy the installation modeling a pink silk dress designed by Frank Masandrea, a young fashion designer whose clothes were modeled by Karen Graham and who died of HIV related complications at the age of 41 in the late 1980s.

    'My Model / My Self' is at once autobiographical and reflective of the capitalist impulse to seek validation through identification with external stimulus due to the failure of traditionally binaristic social and familial structures to recognize the realities of complex personal multiplicities. Then again, maybe it’s simply a search for peace. -VITRINE GALLERY, London

  • Trans Power Toile by Grant Shaffer

    The images within the toile, painted by Grant Shaffer and available in Blue, Pink, and White colorways, highlight icons and heroes like Sylvia Rivera, Lucy Hicks Anderson, Rita Hester, Justin Vivian Bond, Marsha P. Johnson, and Venus Xtravaganza, as well as the many trans individuals who fought tirelessly and continue to fight for the rights and protection of lgbtq+ people. Legendary sites of trans resistance like the Stonewall Inn and Gene Compton’s Cafeteria are featured as well.

    Grant Shaffer has lived and worked in Manhattan as an artist/illustrator for over 25 years and his illustrations have appeared in magazines and newspapers such as The New Yorker, The New York Times and Interview Magazine.  He also works as a storyboard artist for films and music videos, and has illustrated children’s books for Penguin Random House.  He also teaches an illustration course at the School of Visual Arts, as well as general art at Hetrick-Martin Institute.

    Voutsa donates 50% of net profits from sales of the Trans Power Toile to the Hetrick Martin Institute. HMI serves as a resource for transgender and gender non-conforming young people, who are often subjected to violence, stigma and discrimination. HMI helps trans youth overcome the hardships and mental challenges posed by transphobia, which can be detrimental and leave behind long-lasting effects. They help raise awareness and provide trans young people with medical support resources—often times difficult for them to access, especially recently throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Desire Lines, by Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell

    Desire Lines are alternate, unofficial routes or social trails in nature and landscape architecture. They represent an accumulated record of disobedience and transformation. We apply this phenomenon to an improvisation practice that maps individual and collective action. The choreographic material is the attention of the performer, a navigation of impulses and fixed systems. The dance offers shifting and emergent models for coexistence, assimilation, and rebellion. Our choices create a world built of its own desires, a provisional utopia constantly making and unmaking itself.

  • Storefront for Art and Architecture, Letters to the Mayor

    Letters to the Mayor is an itinerant exhibition that displays letters written by architects to their city mayors. Initiated by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2014, the project has traveled to more than 20 cities across the globe, including Bogotá, Mexico City, Athens, Panama City, Taipei, Mariupol, Madrid, Lisbon, and Buenos Aires, among others.

    Letters to the Mayor invites 100 architects in each city to write a letter to their mayor as a means of bringing innovative ideas and visions of the city closer to the decision-makers, and vice versa.

    Throughout history, architects have addressed this responsibility by navigating the structures of economic, political, and cultural power in different ways, and with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the political role of the architect has often been relegated to providing answers to questions that others have asked.

    Letters to the Mayor questions this dynamic by inviting local and global architects to deliver their thoughts directly to the desks of elected officials and, simultaneously, into the public consciousness.