Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community

Press release from Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York

We are pleased to announce our next exhibition opening on January 17th, 2014!

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community

Exhibition dates: January 17 to March 16, 2014
Public Opening: January 17, 2014 6-8 pm

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community will be on view January 17 through March 16, 2014 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Queer Threads, a group show curated by John Chaich, explores notions of aspiration, socialization, and representation within the LGBTQ community through artists employing thread-based craft materials, techniques, and processes.

While many of these artists are internationally recognized in the craft and art communities, this exhibition marks the first time these works have been shown together to specifically highlight their queerness. Comprised from a mix of well-established and emerging talent from across the United States, as well as Argentina, Canada, and South Africa, this exhibition will feature artists Chris Bogia (New York), Melanie Braverman (Massachusetts), Jai Andrew Carrillo (California), Chiachio & Giannone (Argentina), Liz Collins (New York), Ben Cuevas (California), Pierre Fouché (South Africa), James Gobel (California), Jesse Harrod (Virginia), Larry Krone (New York), Rebecca Levi (New York), Aubrey Longley-Cook (Georgia), Aaron McIntosch (Maryland), Allyson Mitchell (Canada), John Thomas Paradiso (Maryland), Sheila Pepe (New York), Maria E. Piñeres (California), Allen Porter (deceased), L. J. Roberts (New York), Sonny Schneider (Denmark), Buzz Slutzky (New York), Nathan Vincent (New York), and Jessica Whitbread (Canada).

Queer Threads will fully activate the Museum’s gallery through felt paintings, yarn drawings, embroidered portraits, knit sculpture, quilted tapestries, and crocheted installations, as well as video. From Nathan Vincent’s life-sized crocheted men’s locker room, to Liz Collin’s oversized knit pride flag based on Gilbert Baker’s 1978 original design, works range from intimate to expansive in scale. From Allyson Mitchell’s found afghans emblazoned with phrases such as “Pride is a Pyramid Scheme,” to James Gobel’s use of felt, acrylic, and yarn to create a portrait of fashion design team Costello Tagliapietra, many of Queer Threads’ artists mix craft technique or materials with traditional mediums, while others fully employ craft processes.

 Flowing off the wall to the floor, L.J. Roberts’ The Queer Houses of Brooklyn in the Three Towns of Breukelen, Boswyck and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era, particularly exemplifies the use of craft techniques to explore contemporary queer culture as it incorporates knitting, embroidery, and quilting to create a colorful, multi-textured sculpture mapping queer, cohabitating collectives. With references to the AIDS quilt and ACT UP iconography, the piece honors punk DIY aesthetics and traditional craft, as well as the families we create. This work is on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum who purchased the piece after it was shown in its 2013 40 Under 40: Craft Futures exhibition.

“The new visions and voices in Queer Threads, uniquely expressed through craft traditions, expand on Leslie-Lohman’s commitment to examining the diversity of the LGBTQ experience through art,” says Hunter O’Hanian, Executive Director. In doing so, Chaich notes, “Using craft to celebrate and critique identity and community is very queer in all senses of the word—unusual, political, and personal.”

A range of guest docents will lead tours of the exhibition, including fashion design team Costello Tagliapietra; Debbie Stoller, author of the Stitch n’ Bitch Nation series of knitting books and editor-in-chief of BUST magazine, and designer Todd Oldham, creator of the Kid Made Modern series of books and supplies.


Big Ideas in Art and Culture: Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell

Lecture by Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Lougue, published by CAFKATV 06/04/2013

Out artists Deirdre Lougue and Allyson Mitchell speak about making feminist & queer art and culture, opening the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) in their home in Parkdale, Toronto, Canada and how they feel about sharing their home with their community. The lecture took place at Boarding House Arts (the former Guelph Civic Museum at 6 Dublin St. South, Guelph ON), and on March 27, 2012.

Related Links
Deep Lez, artist statement by Allyson Mitchell
Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House by Allyson Mitchell, October 17 – 30, 2013
Id’s Its — Installations by Deirdre Logue
Weird And Poecital Camera Performances By Deirdre Logue

Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House

Press release by Allyson Mitchell & AGYU, July 17, 2013

Forget the dead this Hallowe’en

Feel the pulsing throb of something larger than life in Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House.
Opening this October in Toronto.

Holey Hell House!

Each Hallowe’en radical evangelical groups all over the USA and Canada build hell houses. Beginning in the 70’s, these performer-animated installations showcase a gruesome retribution for the sins of fornication, abortion, suicide, occultism, and— of course—same-sex relationships. This Hallowe’en Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell reclaims this hellish scenario with her crowd-sourced, lesbian-feminist, queer-fear-fighting celebration Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House located at 1302 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Wrapping this American Gothic Hell House tradition with yard upon illustrated, elaborately decorated yard of spirited craft aesthetic, Mitchell mobilizes her “deep lez” commitment to radical queer world-making potential. Through it, she conjures new kinds of representations of feminist sexuality and queer concepts of community and activism.

Rug-hooked, crocheted, and paper maché’d constructions are womb-like wonders for visitations of the undead lesbian community, who are hell-bent on remaining nightmarishly non-assimilated. Casting the spells of freaky feminist skill sharing and paranormal consciousness raising together with ghouls, bio-engineered monsters, indoctrinators, and avengers, this hell house is designed to pervert, not convert.

Deep Lez becomes Creep Lez—Just in time for Hallowe’en

(Insert witchy cackle here)
October 16 marks the grand opening of Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House. Dare to be scared by gender-queer apparitions, ball-busting butches, and never-married, happy-as-hell spinsters. For one night only, get down on riot ghouls and radical vampiric grannies while channeling your inner consciousness hell-raiser. Bite down on some beaver tails and suck back some fish tacos while you experience over 25 live performances, rock bands, video projections and much more fun too frightening to reveal…just yet.

Take a guided tour through the glorious and grisly detritus of Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House from October 17 – 30, as this haunted house becomes an immersive art installation. Kill Joy’s Kastle will be open each day from 4 – 8 pm (or by appointment) and groups are welcome, especially the unruly kind. This ground-up, maximalist, not-to-be-missed haunted house—nailed, knit, and glued by a coven of dedicated feminists over the course of the past three months—provides a rare glimpse into Allyson Mitchell’s legendary craftivist world-view.

To book viewing appointments or class tours please contact: Emelie Chhangur at Emelie@yorku.ca or Allyson Mitchell at mail@allysonmitchell.com.

Allyson Mitchell’s Lesbian Hell House is “fearfully” brought to you by the Art Gallery of York University. AGYU is a university-affiliated public non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and our membership. Allyson Mitchell would like to thank the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) for their financial support of this project.

Archiving Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival

Gender Studies and Body Politics Session 2 | published by The New School, Nyc. USA, 2010

Ann Cvetkovich, Professor of English and Professor of Womens and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Cvetkovich discusses the problems of continuity/discontinuity across feminist generations. What turns have we taken, and how do we assess those now? Prof. Cvetkovich shares her experience in archiving Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. She also presents works by a new generation of lesbian feminist artists who embraces the 70s sisterhood and radical lesbian femininsm; among others works by Allyson Mitchell, Tammy Ray Carland, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Angela Jimenez, and points out that art can be an innovative form of public archiving.

Civil Partnership event at the Tate, 2012

Curating Feminist and Queer Art

The above video presents the highlights of the Civil Partnership Event at Tate in 2012. The symposium was held as part of the Leverhulme funded project Transnational perspectives on women’s art, feminism and curating. “Reflecting on the politics and practices of queer and feminist art curating, this symposium hosted presentations from an international line-up of artists, curators and critics to address a set of key questions: how do feminist and queer projects emerge as art exhibitions?”

Among the speakers were queer/LGBTQ curators Allyson Mitchell, Deirdre Logue, Michael Petry, Matt Smith and Pawel Leszkowicz, who are helping to nurture, feed and cultivate a new tradition of presenting queer subject matter at art museums and national collections.