Fine Arts Faculty Carrie Yamaoka to Feature in Exhibit at Beeler Gallery

arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody / Joy Episalla / Zoe Leonard / Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified

Season One Opening

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018

Artists’ tour with Jo-ey Tang, Director of Exhibitions: 5:30 p.m.

Reception: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design dedicates Season One (October 2, 2018 – March 17, 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 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. 

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. A sense of political consciousness inflects the four artists’ works, as does a deep investigation of time, space, perception, and materials. In many of their works, abstraction serves as a form of resistance by pointing toward the limits of perception and visual representation.

The four words included 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 the artist 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 the individual art practices of the collective.

The season is amplified by a concert and a symposium to contextualize the practices and affinities of fierce pussy:

On Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, artist Mx Justin Vivian Bond will perform a concert at the historic Southern Theatre. A trans-genre artist living in New York City, Mx Bond is a Tony-nominated performer whom Hilton Als, in The New Yorker, called “the best cabaret artist of (their) generation.” Mx Bond is the author of the Lambda Literary Award–winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels, and their albums include Kiki and Herb: Do You Hear What We Hear?, Kiki and Herb Will Die For You at Carnegie Hall, Dendrophile, and Silver Wells. Their sculptural installations and live art have been presented by the New Museum, New York, as part of the exhibition titled Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon (2017). This event is co-sponsored by Stonewall Columbus.

Commissioned writing by Jill H. Casid and Elisabeth Lebovici will be conducted during the season. Both will be part of a symposium 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 Ian Ruffino and Marla Roddy.

Season One is co-sponsored by Stonewall Columbus, and Denison University’s Studio Art Program, Queer Studies Program, and English Department. Early support of the project for Jo-ey Tang included Denniston Hill, Woodridge, New York, and Rupert, Vilnius, Lithuania.