In London this October? I have the pleasure of chairing a talk at the Frieze London Art Fair with Neil Bartlett, Marlene McCarty and Zanele Muholi on art, activism, politics and sexuality – From ACT UP to S. Africa today... Neil is an amazing novelist and playwright who both takes on history and restores it to the present from his first book, Who Was That Man: A Present for Mr. Oscar Wilde ,a hybrid crossing over from novel to non-fiction, memoir and history to his work in the theater. He also impressively just donated his archive to the British Library (see the talk about it here).
Marlene was part of with Gran Fury (creating the visuals and graphic/advertising arm of ACT UP NY). Her own work since has pushed the language and codes of society from the way we address and sexualize women to how society encodes morals and values and the knots those can tie us up in from girls and their families to our take on ourselves and great apes.
Zanele just won the Freedom of Expression award from Index on Censorship and her work, portraits of black lesbians in S. Africa are bold, striking and in a country that asks for invisibility – declarative.They've been shown recently at Documenta last year and in Venice this year.
It has been 20 years since ACT UP, Gran Fury and queer activism reshaped the power of contemporary art and protest. What is the legacy of and possibility for art and protest now?