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Queer Men Artist Lab: New Orleans

Tuesday, 27 August to Friday, 30 August, 2024

Early Deadline to Apply: Sunday, 14 July 2024. 

Final Deadline to Apply: Sunday, 28 July 2024. 

Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until space is filled. Artists are encouraged to apply well before the deadline.

Artist Labs are an intensive series of workshops and discussions designed to foster the integration of history and contemporary art into an artist’s practice. Produced in concert with Art Meets History, Labs include specific discussions about the medium of collage including the challenge of creating large work and issues of appropriation, copyright, and fair use and explore how the artist’s choice and understanding of material shapes the narrative of the artwork. After the Lab, artists will leave with a network of peer support; an idea for a project; and the task of turning that idea into a project proposal and a sample work. 

The goal of the Queer Men Artist Lab: New Orleans is to equip artists with tools and strategies for picking up the unfinished work of history and speak to contemporary civic discourse around social, economic, and environmental issues. Through interactive sessions in the Lab and panel discussions, artists will explore their process and practice; present a slideshow of their work; receive supportive, critical, curatorial feedback about their ideas; and discuss contemporary issues. 

Is the Lab only open to Queer Men? How are we defining Queer Men? The lab is open to any artist regardless of how they identify who wants to make contemporary artwork that speaks to the experience of Queer Men. We think of “Queer Men” as an amorphous state of being, one that is self-determined and inclusive of a broad range of human experiences. In this sense, we do not seek to define Queer Men rather we seek to question, What does it mean to be a queer man today? 

Queer Men Artist Lab: New Orleans will take as its premise that 21st century queer men’s identity is the culmination of decades of construction and ask: What does it mean to be a queer man in the 21st century? Are apps leading us to think of each other as products to consume? How do we understand and celebrate the diversity of our bodies, those that are natural or manufactured by gym culture and ideas of hypermasculinity? What does it mean to “come out” in a world that promises acceptance? What is the place for men who identify as straight but love, desire, and yearn for male affection and sex? What does it mean to be a queer boy today? How do we evolve, grow, develop, mature in a world where we are misunderstood and fetishized, but lacking role models? How do we grow old when so many of us thought we wouldn’t live past 40? How do we remember who came before us? How do we pass knowledge to future generations of queer men? How do we support young queer men carving new spaces for themselves? How do we support our lesbian, trans, and non-binary siblings? What does feminism mean to us? Covid-19 was not our first pandemic. How do we unpack the trauma of seeing how much the world can respond when they care about who is affected? How do we stand in solidarity with those who live in societies that criminalize homosexuality? Bar is church and our bars are dying. What is the future of queer men’s space? How do we decolonize queer identity and create space that welcomes and celebrates queer men of color? What is our place in a late-stage capitalism that treats us as labor and assets? How do we build and sustain community? How do we understand our place in the world? How do we make ourselves understood? How can artists help us make sense of all of this? This is not an exhaustive list. 

During the lab, artists will make collage as a way to explore artist practice, process, and meaning making. Artists will explore the queer geography and history of New Orleans and consider how similar geographies and histories from their home communities may inform their proposal. Artists will complete the Lab with a project proposal for a contemporary art project (an exhibition or a book) and a sample work that will be considered for an exhibition that will take place in 2025. 

Schedule Overview

After a pre-Lab virtual meeting in mid-August, the Artist Lab will begin at 10AM on Tuesday, 27 August at the Kolaj Institute Gallery. After introductions and orientation, artists will hear about art as technology, art ecosystem, and artist practice, as well as a group interview about 21st Century Queer Men's Identity.

On Wednesday, we will take a walking tour of Queer New Orleans Geography, returning to Kolaj Institute in the afternoon for a presentation on contemporary art projects and proposals followed by presentations from Seth Ter Haar and Robbie Morgan.

Milwaukee-based Seth Ter Haar will lead a discussion about the architecture of queer space and the role of the seclusion and security that are built into these spaces. He will speak about his exhibition, "Cruising Community" (on view at Saint Kate-The Arts Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 12 July to 13 October 2024). Ter Haar will speak about how he adapted his woodworking practice to speak to queer issues and how he uses contemporary machinery like a CNC Machine and Laser Cutter to modernize historical woodworking techniques in order to examine the socio-cultural implications of cruising and its role in queer history.

Artists will consider the work in the Kolaj Institute exhibition, "Advanced Wound Healing Techniques: Collage by Robbie Morgan" and hear from the New Orleans-based artist about how he tapped personal archive, history, and memory to create the body of work. The exhibition shows a collection of collage made with the artist's photographs that were destroyed in a series of fires that took place in 2007, when he was 24 years old. Morgan will introduce the project, "Stein & Still" in which uses family lore around his uncle's late-1970s gay bar in Mobile, Alabama to speak about the role bars play in queer mens' cultures. 

On Thursday Ric Kasini Kadour will present a survey of Queer Art and lead a discussion of the goals and history of the Queer Men's Masculinity Project. Kadour will speak about his project to use the popular films Xanadu and Flash Gordon (both from 1980) to make collage that speaks to the evolution of masculine queer psyche. Kadour will lead artists in a group collage making activity using the materials of architect and collagist Fred Bookhardt (1934-2015) to explore the role print material shapes identity. He will also introduce participants to the work of the artist collective, Brayden Shayne.

On Tuesday and Thursday evening, we will screen films relevant to the project. Friday is Proposal Presentation Day. Participating artists will be invited to present their own past projects and workshop ideas for current and future projects. We will wrap up by 4PM as Southern Decadence gets underway.

Who is this for?

Queer Men Artist Lab: New Orleans is intended for self-motivated artists, regardless of medium or the stage in their career, who want to develop a practice of working with history to create and present art that embeds itself in non-traditional spaces and speaks to a general community about contemporary issues. The lab is open to any artist regardless of how they identify their gender or sexuality. Artists from Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian, and queer communities are encouraged to apply.

COST

The cost of the Queer Men Artist Lab 2024 is $750 USD. A limited number of grants are available in order to offset the fee and reduce barriers to participation to those with a demonstrated financial need. We cannot offer financial aid to cover travel, lodging or food costs. All travel to and from New Orleans, as well as food and lodging, are the sole responsibility of the artist.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.