Category: Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming

Juliana Huxtable (1987-

Juliana Huxtable (1987-

Untitled (In the Rage) Nibiru Cataclysm

Artist: Juliana Huxtable

Date & Location: 2015, New York City, NY (USA)

Media: Photography

Where can I see this artwork?: Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Significance to Queer Art History:

Juliana Huxtable is an intersex and transgender visual artist, performer,writer, and DJ. In her multidisciplinary career she often conveys her ideas through a afrofuturist lens blended with modern science fiction.

This piece brings together parts of her identity that she wants to draw attention to via a sexualized position to celebrate her body and identity in her surroundings which recall Nubian and Egyptian settings.

Resources & Further Reading:

“Juliana Huxtable | Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm) (2015).” Artsy. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/juliana-huxtable-untitled-in-the-rage-nibiru-cataclysm.

Sargent, Antwaun. “Artist Juliana Huxtable’s Bold, Defiant Vision.” Vice. March 25, 2015. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/exmjkp/artist-juliana-huxtables-journey-from-scene-queen-to-trans-art-star-456.

“Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm).” Guggenheim. July 17, 2018. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/34476.

 

Marilyn Roxie- Non-Binary Pride Flag (2011)

Marilyn Roxie- Non-Binary Pride Flag (2011)

Marilyn Roxie is a genderqueer writer, musician, and digital media designer. They, created genderqueerid.com/ on Tumblr while attending San Francisco City College. Roxie, along with being a designer and musician, manages an online record label called Vulpiano Records. They currently attend San Francisco State University for Digital Media and Emerging Technologies. Learn more about them here: http://marilynroxie.com/

Featured Artwork: Non-Binary/ Genderqueer Pride Flag

Marilyn Roxie created this flag for a project in 2010 to find a visual identity similar to other pride flags such as the transgender flag (created by Monica Helms in 1999) and bisexual pride flag (Created by Michael Page in 1998) with colored bars representing specific meanings. Roxie came up with three colors after various revisions and simplifications that fit this criteria:

  • Lavender: A blend of traditional “male” and “female” birth assignment colors (pink and blue) to represent those who categorize themselves fitting both binary genders.
  • White: to represent those who are completely outside of the gender binary.
  • Dark Chartreuse Green: An opposite of lavender to represent those who feel neither male nor female in their identities.

After the flag’s creation, it was spotted in rallies and pride events around the world and is used widely by non-binary communities. However, Roxie still accepts submissions for new flag ideas and color palettes for community discussion. Visit http://genderqueerid.com/ for more information on genderqueer and non-binary identities as well as more information on the flag and its history. 

Resources & Further Reading:

Roxie, Marilyn. “About the Flag.” About the Flag. Accessed August 2017. http://genderqueerid.com/about-flag.

Roxie, Marilyn. “Marilyn Roxie.” Marilyn Roxie. Accessed August 2017. http://marilynroxie.com/.

 

ACT UP Los Angeles- Sir Lady Java

ACT UP Los Angeles- Sir Lady Java

Featured Artwork: Sir Lady Java poster by ACT UP Los Angeles

Date and location: Los Angeles, CA (USA) (1990)

Significance to Queer Art History:

This poster is a piece of “artivism” used by ACT UP Los Angeles that features a painting of Sir Lady Java (1943- ), a black transgender performer who was prominent in the 1960s and 70s nightclub scene in Los Angeles. This was carried around in Los Angeles and Orange County Pride parades.

In 1967, the Los Angeles Police Department began shutting down Java’s performances citing “Rule Number 9”, a city ordinance that banned “impersonation by means of costume or dress a person of the opposite sex.” This led Java to consult with the ACLU to overturn this measure. Courts ruled that only individual clubs could sue performers. Rule Number 9 was later shut down in accordance to a separate issue. From Sir Lady Java during the time of her fight for the right to work: “I feel strongly about discrimination against male-females and female-males. I am fighting to have our kind accepted on merit and merit alone.” 

Resources & further reading:

Artist Unknown, “Sir Lady Java” Sign Carried by ACTUP/Los Angeles in Los Angeles and Orange County Pride Parades, Part of a Larger Series of Placard Signs Honoring LGBTQ Pioneers in Southern California, circa 1990. ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.” ONE National Gay Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries. Accessed August 13, 2017. http://one.usc.edu/motha/motha007/.

Roberts, Monica. “Sir Lady Java- Trans Civil Rights Warrior.” TransGriot. January 01, 1970. Accessed August 13, 2017. http://transgriot.blogspot.ca/2010/12/sir-lady-java-trans-civil-rights.html.

“5 Black Trans Women Who Paved the Way.” Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. February 24, 2016. Accessed August 13, 2017. http://www.masstpc.org/5-who-paved-the-way/.

 

Greer Lankton (1958-1996)

Greer Lankton (1958-1996)

Greer Lankton was an American Artist based in East Village in New York City. She created and re-purposed dolls as expressions and interpretations of herself, her imagination, friends, and influential celebrities. Lankton, a transgender woman, was born in 1958 and physically transitioned and was subject of a few news articles in this time before college at the age of 21. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and Pratt. Lankton, since left a legacy of her work having been featured in the Whittney Biennial and the Venice Biennale in 1995 before her death in 1996. Her work has since been featured and remembered in the US with the 2014 exhibition, titled: “LOVE ME”

Featured Artwork: Bust of Candy Darling

Date & Location: 1989 in New York City

Significance to Queer Art History: Candy Darling, a transgender actress who was featured in several of Andy Warhol’s films was one of Lankton’s icons that she also looked up to as a trans woman. Inside the bust is a valentine-style heart next to a human heart that Lankton has fabricated. This could allude to the idea that, as a friend of hers, Julia Morton writes: “the artist’s life was sustained as much by fantasy as reality”.

Resources & Further Reading:

Morton, Julia. “Greer Lankton, a Memoir.” Artnet Magazine. January 27, 2007. Accessed May 2017. http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/morton/morton1-26-07.asp.

Nastac, Simona, and Massimo Grimaldi. “Unalterable Strangeness.” Flash Art. July 27, 2016. Accessed May 2017. http://www.flashartonline.com/article/unalterable-strangeness/.

Paul Gauguin- The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (1902)

Paul Gauguin- The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (1902)

Featured Artwork: The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape)

Date & Location: 1902 in Hiva Oa, an isle in French Polynesia

Media: Oil painting

Significance to Queer Art History: This painting’s inspiration was drawn from Gauguin’s travels from France to the Polynesian Islands where Gauguin thought the lives and surroundings would be “untouched” by European influence and colonization. This painting depicts a māhū individual from Hiva Oa (not a man in a cape, as Gauguin describes the individual to his western standards of gender) who identifies with a third gender that can encompass both male and female roles, presentation, and even some spiritual aspects as māhū individuals were revered as healers as this person that Gauguin describes as a “sorcerer”.

Symbolism to note: The conversing fox and bird at the bottom right of the image are natural enemies with many differences. This is perhaps Gauguin’s way of portraying male and female genders “conversing” and getting along with one another to symbolize the māhū individual’s gender.

Editors Note: Gauguin’s view into the lives of the indigenous folks of Hiva Oa and the areas he visited in the Polynesian Islands may be untruthful and deemed offensive as he often exploited spiritual and cultural practices and added his own westernized European influences and concepts to his works while traveling to “un-touched” and un-colonized (the Polynesian Isles had already been colonized years before by the French) areas.

Resources & Further Reading:

Reed, Christopher. “Gender- Transcendant Homosexuality: Polynesia and North America.” In Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas. Oxford: University Press, 2011.

“The Men-women of the Pacific.” Tate. Accessed August 2017. http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/men-women-pacific.

George Catlin- Dance to the Berdache (1830)

George Catlin- Dance to the Berdache (1830)

George Catlin was a painter from Pennsylvania, USA. His works focused on Native American life and culture as he was interested in capturing North America’s “vanishing race” and spent weeks sketching and painting among indigenous folks to capture their “untouched” lifestyles. His most prolific expedition was with William Clark up the Mississippi River Territories of the United States started in 1830. While he documented tribes he visited, he was hostile toward non-european customs and wrote anti-two spirit sentiments toward the Sac and Fox village he visited.

Note on “Berdache” and Western Colonization Efforts: “Berdache” was a term given by the French during North American colonization for folks born male and given traditional female dress and roles along with (in some traditions) spiritual and shaman related properties and abilities. However, this term has been used offensively and extraneously since its origin in France and was later popularized by the field of anthropology. However, many indigenous folks have claimed the term two-spirit in lieu of this term and prefer this.

Most depictions that exist of two-spirit individuals in recorded history are from westernized colonization efforts and research such as Catlin’s. Note that his experiences through writing, art, and recordings of these individuals can be demeaning and untrue to the traditions of the Sac and Fox Nation’s two-spirit individuals.

Featured Artwork: Dance to the Berdache (1830)

Media: Watercolor

Location: Sketched on location at Sac and Fox Nation Village in Northwestern Illinois, USA (1830)

Where can I see Dance to the Berdache?: Smithsonian American Art Museum (Not currently on view) in Washington D.C. (USA)

Significance to Queer Art History: The two-spirit folks in question of this tribe in the Sac and Fox Nation’s village (located in Illinois, USA) were chosen as young males who deviated from norm in their choices during their upbringings. Some individuals  were documented to have willingly chosen to perform women’s roles in their village or may have dreams that they must fulfill a role as a two-spirit individual when discussing visions. The dance (and feast, as written in his journal) in Catlin’s piece was supposedly held annually to honor the two-spirit individual’s (or multiple persons) role/s in the tribe as a spiritual shaman and/or medicinal healing figure as well as a thanks for having been gifted with these things.

Catlin, while he was fascinated with the people and wanted to record their traditions, was highly opposed to two-spirit individuals and wrote in his notes:

“This is one of the most unaccountable and disgusting customs, that I have ever met in the Indian country, and so far as I have been able to learn, belongs only to the Sioux and Sacs and Foxes— perhaps it is practiced by other tribes, but I did not meet with it; and for further account of it I am constrained to refer the reader to the country where it is practiced, and where I should wish that it might be extinguished before it be more fully recorded.” (Catlin 214)

Sources:

Catlin, George. Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians in a Series of Letters and Notes Written during Eight Years of Travel and Adventure among the Wildest and Most Remarkable Tribes Now Existing, with Three Hundred and Sixty Engravings from the Author’s Original Paintings. 214-16.

“Biography of George Catlin.” Biography | George Catlin. Accessed August 06, 2017. http://www.georgecatlin.org/biography.html.

“Dance to the Berdash by George Catlin.” Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. Accessed August 06, 2017. http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=4023.

TWO TAKES ON TWO SPIRITS | Recording the History of Multiple Genders in Native North America. Accessed August 06, 2017. https://www.eiteljorg.org/interact/blog/eitelblog/2013/09/11/two-takes-on-two-spirits-recording-the-history-of-multiple-genders-in-native-north-america.

Williams, Walter L. “The Berdache Tradition.” In The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004.

Wishart, David J. “Encyclopedia of the Great Plains.” Encyclopedia of the Great Plains | BERDACHE. Accessed August 06, 2017. http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.gen.004.