Desire N Flux
How does the libidinal economy of Black people and their bodies shape the ways in which they are beloved and repelled, adored and abused? How often is it that these are two sides of the same coin? Whose fantasies become reality and who bears the impact of other’s imaginations? When bodies are invisible the marks of love and violence are surrounding and entangled with the mundane and the ritual.
Each artist engages with desire as a constant condition in which one must have to navigate again. Alvin Baltrop is an underground Donatello navigating a pre-AIDS crisis world of homo eroticism. Brontez encounters this world in the present, in the digital, in the rhetorical lies unveiled as they're encountered. Allana's sculptures feel like corpses of Black femme assimilation in capitalism, and Calli's work functions as similar but referential artifacts.
HOUSING would like to thank Galerie Buchholz for their participation.
Calli Roche (b. 1990, Nashville, TN) is an American artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her current work is a material manifestation of internal diatribes; an attempt to instantiate streams of consciousness, narratives, and profound whims. Using personal and cultural histories, true and delusive, she creates artifacts to materialize inner monologues. Calli works with reclaimed objects, wood, skins, and textiles. The materials take on different ontological significance in each work, yet frequently reference the fraught relationships between violence, identity, and sexuality.
Allana Clarke (b. 1987, Trinidad & Tobago) is a Trinidadian-American artist whose practice is built upon a foundation of uncertainty, curiosity, a will to heal, and an insistence upon freedom. Fluidly moving through video, performance, photography, and text, her research-based practice incorporates socio-political and art historical texts, to contend with ideas of Blackness, the binding nature of bodily signification, and of the possibility to create non-totalizing identifying structures. Clarke received her BFA in photography from New Jersey City University in 2011 and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Practice from MICA’s Mount Royal School of Art in 2014. Clarke has been an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, The Vermont Studio Center, Lighthouse Works, and Yaddo. She has received several grants including the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, Franklin Furnace Fund, and a Puffin Foundation Grant. Her work has been screened and performed at Gibney Dance in NY, Invisible Export NY, New School Glassbox Studio NY, FRAC in Nantes, France, SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and was featured in the Bauhaus Centennial edition Bauhaus Now: Is Modernity an Attitude. She is currently a 2020 NXTHVN fellow and an assistant professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Alvin Baltrop (1948-2004) was born in the Bronx, New York, and spent most of his life living and working in New York City. From 1969 to 1972, he served in the Vietnam War and began photographing his comrades. Upon his return, he enrolled in the School of the Visual Arts in New York, where he studied from 1973 to 1975. After working various jobs — vendor, jewelry designer, printer — he settled on the banks of Manhattan's West Side, where he would produce the bulk of his photographic output.
Powerful, lyrical, and controversial, Alvin Baltrop's photographs are a groundbreaking exploration of clandestine gay culture in New York in the 1970s and 80s. His work is reflective of the grassroots passion and raw energy of New York City’s underground gay culture. Baltrop focused his lens on the derelict warehouses beneath Manhattan's West Side piers; which was a lawless, forgotten part of the city that played host to gay cruising, art making, drug smuggling, prostitution, and suicides. Baltrop documented this scene, unflinchingly and obsessively capturing everything from fleeting naked figures in mangled architectural environments to scenes of explicit sex and police raids on the piers. While the outside world saw New York as the glamorous playground of Studio 54, Warhol's gang and the disco era; Baltrop photographed the city's gritty flipside. His work is an important part of both gay culture and the history of New York itself, and his photographs are a powerful tribute to a long-forgotten world at the city's dilapidated margins.
Brontez Purnell was born in Triana Alabama and has lived in Oakland, California for over 18 years. He is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down. Recipient of a 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction, he was named one of the 32 Black Male Writers for Our Time by T: New York Times Style Magazine in 2018. Purnell is also the frontman for the band the Younger Lovers, the co-founder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and, most recently, the documentary Unstoppable Feat: Dances of Ed Mock.
Photo: Shark Sensac
30 sec. Super Hair Bond Glue
44” x 36”
In the Wake, 2020
30 sec. Super Hair Bond Glue
72” x 50”
Wood, Brass and Hot Combs in Resin
Poly Velvet, Rayon, Polished Brass
Lambskin, Birch, Brass
The Piers (two men sitting), n.d. (1975-1986)
Silver Galatin Print, Framed
4.5” x 6.8”
The Piers (collapsed architecture), n.d. (1975-1986)
Silver Gelatin Print, Framed
7.9” x 9.8”
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