A window installation piece by artist Tony Whitfield opened June 2nd at Printed Matter in New York City.
The exhibition, based on his artist book, Inquiries & Statements, creates a meditation on violence inflicted upon members of the LGBTQ community. Questioning the ways in which they have been brutalized and proposing the possibilities of such victimization as personal experience, Whitfield brings those ruminations together with the ways in which hideous events are transformed into listings on the internet.
Whitfield shares, “I thought it was important, a year after our celebrations on the legalization of gay marriage, to do a work that made it clear that homophobia is still resulting in murders of queer people. When Orlando’s massacre happened, I went back to the piece and reworked it to not only include those murders but indications of what it means not to accept victimhood.” To view a video on Inquiries & Statements, click here.
Meanwhile, Whitefield debuted another exhibition, Queer Home Sweet Home this past Saturday, June 11th at FiveMyles in Brooklyn. In it, Whitfield explores what the idea of “home” can mean to LGBTQ young people as they formulate understandings of who they are in the world. Extracting material from his own experience, his work revisits his grandmother’s house in North Philadelphia in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the home his family moved to in middle class West Oak Lane where he came to understand his identity as a young gay black artist.
Underscoring Whitfield’s recollections of queer youth, a collaborative video production by videographer Hanisha Haranji, audio artist Paul Isham and Whitfield is also featured in this exhibition. This work is the first in a series based on interviews and workshops conducted by Whitfield in 2014, funded in part by a Local Arts Grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council, and explores formative experiences of home life for LGBTQ people. Queer Home Sweet Home is project of Whitfield CoLabs with fiscal sponsorship provided by Fractured Atlas.
Opening only shortly before the June 12th mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, the timing of Whitfield’s exhibitions is eerily poignant and comes at a crucial moment of reflection on discrimination and acceptance in American society.
Inquiries & Statements will run until June 24th and Queer Home Sweet Home will run until July 10th.