Elmgreen & Dragset: Drama Queens
Drama Queens is a comedic one-act play originally created for the 2007 Skulptur Projekte in Münster, Germany, and now lives on as a video of the performance. Over the course of 45 minutes, works by Barbara Hepworth, Alberto Giacometti, and Jeff Koons come to life to discuss the meaning of art and their own existence. Drama Queens uses both parody and homage to satirize the art world while simultaneously making serious inquiries into territories of existentialism. Our own hopes and anxieties are embodied by the anthropomorphized works, whose quick and witty dialogue will bring a smile to the faces of art aficionados and novices alike.
Based in London and Berlin, Michael Elmgreen (b. 1961, Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (b. 1969, Norway) have worked as a collaborative team since the mid-1990s. Their ambitious exhibitions have been presented at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2010), MUSAC, León, Spain (2009), Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2007), Serpentine Gallery, London (2006), MCA Chicago (2005), Tate Modern, London (2004), and Kunsthalle Zurich (2001). In 2003, Elmgreen & Dragset won the prestigious Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. In 2009, Elmgreen & Dragset were awarded Special Mention at the Venice Biennale for The Collectors, their highly elaborate exhibition for the Danish and Nordic Pavilions.
Joanna Kidd: Double Self-Portrait
Double Self Portrait is a video installation that relies on the written word as much as it does the moving image. In her video, Kidd invites viewers to transform the written narrative of her formative years into a verbal portrait as well by reading her words. The image of a face emerges over the course of the video to reveal both a second representation of the artist and to create a semiotic tension between the word and the symbol. Kidd has questioned the nature of memory itself, saying, “The act of writing allows us to clarify our ideas and perceptions, but at the same time the act of putting a thought or memory into words changes the very nature of the experience.” Double Self Portrait uses a private experience to create a publicly shared narrative, and thereby forever alters the original memory of said experience.
Joanna Kidd is a northern California sculptor, printmaker, and video installation artist. After graduating in Philosophy and Cognitive Science from Dartmouth College, she studied Printmaking and Sculpture at San Francisco State University. She then moved to Florence, Italy, where she lived for eight years. She received a BFA in Sculpture and an MFA in Visual Art and Multimedia Techniques from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. In 2012, she was an Artist-in-Residence at Everglades National Park. She has participated in exhibitions and video festivals in Italy, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, England, France, Sweden, and the United States.
Jess T. Dugan: Dallas
Jess T. Dugan’s Dallas is part of a larger series, Transcendence, which documents the stages of several different journeys through gender transformation, specifically the transition from female to male. The series depicts physical alterations to outward appearances of individuals who blur stereotypes about the expected, coded visual manifestations of gender. Dugan’s work is presented on the same wall as three other portraits of men and two of women, none of whom have a specific name or known identity. The anonymity of these sitters allows us to view the paintings as archetypes of 16th-century portraiture, and the comparison to Dugan’s photograph demonstrates how approaches to pose, demeanor, lighting, and composition have remained consistent across centuries. In addition to these historical works, Dallas is also in conversation with the photograph by Kurt Simonson, positioned directly across the room.
Jess T. Dugan’s work has been exhibited nationwide, including at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Griffin Museum of Photography, Gallery Kayafas (Boston, MA), Carroll and Sons Gallery (Boston, MA), and the Schneider Gallery (Chicago, IL). Dugan’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Harvard Art Museum and The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, among others. Dugan is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston, jdc Fine Art in San Diego, and the Schneider Gallery in Chicago.
Raphael Noz: Double Portrait
Double Portrait is about painting as an act, about relationships and about how we create images in our mind. In this piece (as the performance character Cortezuma), Raphael Noz is situated between two canvases, which are located on opposing walls. With long brushes and outstretched arms, he attempts to paint two portraits at the same time. The portraits are of Cortés the Conquistador on one side, and Moctezuma the Aztec Emperor on the other. This work performs an allegory from the story of The Conquest of Mexico—one of the epic battles in the history of the Americas. There was a winner and a loser, of course, but there was also a child born of this union. “Cortezuma,” the blending of the names of Cortés and Moctezuma, represents the child born of conflict. Wearing a crown that comes down over his eyes, he is both crowned and blind. Can a blind man paint? What can we “see” of an image without looking at it?
Raphael Noz received an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2009. He studied painting, drawing and photography at RISD in Providence, Rhode Island, and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. He spent a year studying Renaissance art in Florence, Italy, and performance in Oaxaca, Mexico. He has been included in shows in Hudson, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Oaxaca, Mexico; Los Angeles, California; Marfa, Texas; and Mexicali, Mexico. He has participated in many shows and performance events in San Francisco, most notably at YBCA, Will Brown Gallery, Triple Base Gallery, and SOMArts. He was recently the recipient of the Latino Teaching Artist Fellowship through Root Division in San Francisco. Plans for 2014 include performing at the Berkeley Art Museum as part of a light, sound, and performance collaboration called The Something (with Justin Carl Hurty, Ben Vilmain, and Shaun O’Dell).