Posted on October 19, 2015
PLEASE JOIN ME at the
OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
EVIL: A MATTER OF INTENT
Hebrew Union College –JIR Museum
One West Fourth St, New York NY
September 1, 2015- June 30, 2016
My Femme Fatale Portfolio has its roots in the shadows and violence depicted on pulp fiction book covers and film noir movie posters. At the core of these stories is an edgy morality tale. ‘Bad girl’ characters live in a place and time where good is not always rewarded or evil inevitably punished. Central to this story is the predatory femme fatale, sometimes portrayed as a character that is not all bad.
Within the mysterious mise-en-scène, gender performance artist, Fred Koenig, appropriates the dark haired, noir-heroine dripping in furs and jewels as a character of multiple and hidden identities. For SIN STREET (2013), the inner surface and the outer show are as interchangeable as the intimately linked masculine and feminine roles. Sex is the femme fatale’s weapon. She uses her attractiveness to manipulate the male protagonist. Better not to be too pretty, too aggressive or too sexual or you might be killed as the film noir heroine usually dies. The warning is well learned by generations of young girls. The film noir moral lesson is that we are all connected; that the lure of transgression makes us closer than we think.
The exhibition EVIL: A MATTER OF INTENT addresses the faces of inhumanity and explores the struggle between the acts of evil, (yetzer hara) and the acts of good (yetzer hatov).
“The artists in this exhibition as do many of us, have a vision of how to proceed. Less rhetoric. More action. It is up to each and every one of us to wage war on evil.” Laura Kruger, Curator
Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm, Friday, 9am-3pm, Select Saturdays, 10am-2pm (call for Saturday openings)
PLEASE JOIN ME at the Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29th, 2015, 7-9 PM
ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE: What’s All the Fuss? This exhibition examines the work of artists who investigate the controversial subjects that spark public discussions today.
Pierro Gallery of South Orange
5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ
October 29 – November 25th 2015
ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE – Panel Discussion
Thursday Oct 22 2015, 7pm, Montclair Art Museum – to discuss the issues and concerns that arise in the creation of public art installations and how they engage communities in dialogue.
From the earliest days of my career in art and photography I have photographed strong and defiant people who bravely break taboos and re-define their cultural and sexual representation. Many of my images embrace the fluidity of gender identity and explore the possibility that we each hold a myriad of alternative selves within us.
SACRED CORSET (1997)
In the eighteen years that I have been photographing the French performance artist, Fred Koenig, we have collaborated on producing images that explore a gender-fluid queer identity. My HE/SHE Portfolio reveals the spectrum of Fred’s transformations into self-affirming portraits of his myriad personas and alternative selves.
For SACRED CORSET, Koenig dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. Here is a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the ambiguity and fluidity of his sexuality.
AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER (2013)
Dean, the photojournalist and visual artist depicted in the portrait, AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER, self-identifies with the pronoun “they,” and says: “There is nothing more courageous than being yourself in a world that tries to render you invisible in mundane and violent ways.”
NAVE Gallery Annex
53 Chester St., Somerville, MA 02144
October 8th – 31st 2015
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN
Pigment print on aluminum with hand-filed edges, 12 x 18 inches
I photographed the graffiti drawing, WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN, on a cell wall of the Women’s Wing at the abandoned Essex County State Penitentiary, in North Caldwell, NJ. Both the text and the inmate’s haunting, hand-drawn portrait poignantly illustrate one of the fundamental questions we ask about life.
For the exhibition, VISAURAL, I paired it with “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen and performed here by K.D. Lang, because the prayer-like music affirms a faith in life and love amidst doubts. Cohen has said the iconic song represents “absolute surrender in a situation you cannot fix or dominate.”
Alone, within the steel bars of her cage-like cell, I can imagine the figure in the drawing listening to the repeated one-word chorus coming through the open ceiling above her. According to the song, even those of us for whom “it all went wrong” can experience transcendence. As Cohen writes: we “stand before the Lord of Song/ with nothing on [our] lips but a cold and broken Hallelujah.”
Posted on March 12, 2014
“Photographer Trix Rosen’s work about gender ambiguity empowers the viewer to question conventional definitions of beauty and remind us it is more important to define our own personal beauty rather than being defined by others.”
Maureen Harrison and Alexsandra Simakowicz, Curators, BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION
BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION
April 3 – May 3, 2014
Opening Reception: April 3 2014, 7pm-9pm
Pierro Gallery, Baird Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079
Please join me at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange NJ for BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION, a group show celebrating the American cultural transition towards inclusivity.
My HE-SHE portfolio presents an ongoing series of portraits documenting my seventeen-year collaboration with French artist, Fred Koenig, who unselfconsciously dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. Observe him in ‘The Sea Change’ and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the ambiguity of his sexuality.
‘Ravaged,’ presents Fred within the decaying landscape of a New Jersey historic farmhouse. Perhaps this intimate pose and an abandoned structure lay bare a similar beauty and vulnerability.
Fred and I collaborate not just in our art, but in our political activism. Talking about his HIV/AIDS status, Fred told me that it is part of what he shows me by exposing his soul to my camera.
‘Changed Landscapes’ also reveals a figure who has dared me to look deeper because she wasn’t afraid. Here is a woman who bravely explores the physical and emotional contours of her new form after a double mastectomy.
This portrait can be viewed as a narrative about her life and as a defining moment of transfiguring change. Bald, breast-less and scarred, she is fearless and beautiful, essentially and eternally female.
These images record biographical moments, measured not as isolated fragments of time, but revealing the narrative arc of both Fred and Takami’s life. They are capturing the past, recording the present and projecting into the future. How courageous and optimistic to look inward and become stronger through the experience.
I hope to see you at opening of BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION on April 3, 7pm-9pm
Pierro Gallery, Baird Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079
Category: DOCUMENTARY, EXHIBITIONS, FINE ART, GLBTQ, Historic Preservation, Uncategorized, Vernacular Architecture Tagged: architecture, Baird Center, Deleware Water Gap National Park Endangered Houses, documentary, endangered historic sites and houses, Exhibitions, Fine Art, fine art photography, Fred Koenig, gender ambiguity, GLBTQ
Posted on January 15, 2014
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 26, 2014, 2:00-5:00 pm
Montclair State University – George Segal Gallery, Montclair NJ 07043
I can thank my parents for January being the month of my birth, and Curator, Marilyn Symmes, for choosing two of my images, Peeling Back the Layers and Endangered Oakley Stoll House to be in ‘ART Connections 10’ at the George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University in NJ. This marks the first exhibition that represents my gender fine art photography along with my architectural series of endangered houses. Both images record historical moments, measured not as isolated fragments of time, but as tangible and intangible exposures, revealing the narrative arc of my subject’s life/capturing past, recording present and projecting into the future.
Peeling Back the Layers. Montague NJ, 2012, 27H x 18W inches,
Framed 31H x 23W inches, Fine Art Digital Inkjet Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks
Endangered Oakley Stoll House. Walpack Twp. NJ, 2012, 27H x 18W inches,
Framed 31H x 23W inches, Fine Art Digital Inkjet Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks
For Peeling Back the Layers, gender performance artist, Fred Koenig, clad only in panties, stockings and high heels, is framed by the antique peeling wallpaper and decaying wood molding of the historic Hornbeck/Roberts House in Montague NJ. Owned by the National Park Service, this eighteenth century farmhouse along with the Endangered Oakley Stoll House are located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These historically important houses are now sadly vandalized and trashed.
Whether I shoot a portrait or an endangered architectural site, what haunts me is finding the essence of the visible and invisible timeline. I look for the quintessential moment that can be revealed in the stillness of a decaying wall or in the expression of gender duality. Perhaps both Fred’s openly exposed gesture and these two endangered houses lay bare a beautiful and similar vulnerability.
ART Connections 10
Montclair State University – George Segal Gallery
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043
Gallery Hours: T, W, F, Sat 10:00 – 5:00 pm & Thurs 12:30 – 7:30 pm
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 26, 2014, 2:00-500 pm
Exhibition Dates: January 26- February 22 2014
Category: Architectural Restoration, DOCUMENTARY, EXHIBITIONS, FINE ART, GLBTQ, Historic Preservation, PRESERVATION Tagged: architecture, Deleware Water Gap National Park Endangered Houses, documentary, endangered historic sites and houses, Exhibitions, Fine Art, fine art photography, GBLTQ, gender ambiguity, GLBTQ, historic preservation, New Jersey Historic Houses, vernacular architecture
Posted on September 19, 2012
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm ∙ Program at 6:30 pm
RSVP & Photo ID Required: email@example.com or 212-824-2298
Enter into Faust’s Study, a trompe l’oeil painted room, and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. His starkly lit, painted face and figure emerging from the shadows are a tantalizing contrast to the painted Adam and Eve on the rear wall. Faust’s Study directs the viewer’s attention to the relationship between the interior details and the subject, suggesting a narrative in which the gender performance artist, Frédéric Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desire. Faust’s Study, like much of my gender imagery, blurs the traditional definitions of maleness and femaleness.
WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS #2,
2012, 36 inches x 26 inches,
Archival Pigment Print spot mounted on black plexiglass
ABOMINATION: WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS 18:22 is my first artistic collaboration with Susan Kaplow. Our installation explores the damage done by this biblical passage (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination”) and its homophobic legacy. The first to wrestle with the meaning of this verse were the early Rabbis and so the chosen text here is the Talmud page where their commentary is recorded.
Because this abhorrence of her lesbian sexuality made Susan feel “dead,” she had the Talmud text printed on fabric like that used in the traditional Jewish burial ritual and then hand-sewed it into shrouds (tachrichim). Susan asked me if I would photograph her in these shrouds and, together, we began the process of exploring the physical and emotional dynamics of being enclosed in the garments. We came to realize that the images represented our own commentary on the text, reflecting the impact on those who suffer this curse. Through the constitutive role of photography, we transformed and transcended the pain, ultimately retiring the shrouds to a geniza, in which sacred texts and objects which have outlived their ritual use are placed.
The Sexuality Spectrum is a groundbreaking exploration of diverse sexual orientations through the creativity of fifty international contemporary artists. The exhibition explores a broad range of subjects, including the evolving social and religious attitudes toward sexuality; issues of alienation, marginalization, and inclusion; the impact on the family, child-rearing, and life stages; violence and persecution; AIDS/HIV; and the influence of the LGBTQI community on the Jewish and larger world. This exhibition exemplifies the spirit of the College-Institute’s and the Reform Movement’s commitment to free and open inquiry, inclusivity and outreach, and advocacy on behalf of human rights and the eradication of sexual discrimination.
September 6, 2012 – June 28, 2013
Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West Fourth Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York, NY 10012-1186
Curator: Laura Kruger
Posted on March 1, 2012
I just received my beautifully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition, ‘MOMENTUM: Contemporary Women’s Art,’ on view at the Los Angeles Art Association, February 17- March 2 2012. Three of my photographs are in MOMENTUM, curated by Rita Gonzalez, Associate Curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
“Multiple generations of women’s art are represented and within the selection are myriad formations of feminist thought and aesthetics,” writes Rita Gonzalez in her introduction to the catalogue. “Many of the artists engage with legacies of activism that go back to civil rights movements of the 20th century while clearly engaging with the present day.”
“Momentum is defined as the impetus or driving force gained by a course of events,” explains Janice Nesser Chu, WCA President in the catalogue. “The exhibition not only investigates the diverse voices of women artists, and looks at the depth and breadth of work being created but also is a testament to the drive that got them to this point, to the things that propelled them and their work forward… their experiences, their history.” I included art work that was created between 1985 – 2010 and the descriptions are quoted on pages 113,114,115 and accompanied by the following images:
“Enter into Faust’s Study, a trompe l’oeil painted room, and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. His starkly lit, painted face and figure emerging from the shadows are a provocative contrast to the painted Adam and Eve on the rear wall. Faust’s Study directs the viewer’s attention to the relationship between the interior details and the narrative, as the gender performance artist, Frédéric Koenig, unselfconsciously dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desire.”
Faust’s Study, 1997, Edition of 9, Archival Pigment Print. 13.3 inches x 16 inches.
Framed 24.5 x 26.5 inches – $1300.00
“This image is part of an ongoing series of portraits that document my fifteen-year collaboration with Frédéric Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, both masculine and feminine. Wearing nothing more than spike heels, he provocatively poses in an abandoned brewery, a gritty, industrial environment that reinforces a traditional male landscape. While his upper body exudes a masculine power, his raw and curvaceous physicality and his archetypal pin-up girl shoes challenge the viewer to explore how we perceive masculinity, sexuality and gender identity.”
Beyond XY: Inside the Abandoned Falstaff Brewery. No.2, 2010, Edition of 15, Archival Pigment Print. 11.5 inches x 17.5 inches, Framed 19 inches x 25 inches – $1300.00
“I’ve explored feminist, LGBTQ and social justice issues over four decades by producing images that depict gender ambiguity and transformation. In the seventies, my studio in downtown New York City was a haven for my female friends to pose dressed up and naked, in leather outfits and swathed in boas, with hand-painted mustaches and masks, amidst barbed wire and tulle. I’ve photographed women’s erotic pleasure, role-playing and butch/femme identity. Objects of Special Devotion depicts a muscular, androgynous bodybuilder who defies conventional female beauty and challenges the sexual, cultural and erotic representation of women.”
Objects of Special Devotion, 1985, Edition of 9, Archival Pigment Print. 13.3 inches x 16 inches. Framed 24.5 x 26.5 inches -$1300.00
Posted on December 1, 2011
With a Special Performance by LADY JOI-ELLE
Hudson Pride Connections Center
32 Jones St., Jersey City, NJ 07306
Please join me, and the participants of the INSIGHT OUT! PRIDE Digital Storytelling Workshop for an Artist Talk and Panel Discussion about our photographs currently on view in “BECOMING WHO WE ARE,” a photo/video group exhibition curated by Ricardo Francis at Gallery 32, in Jersey City NJ.
The show features the work of Jasmin Brown, V. Michael Lazar, Natasha Phoenix Russell, Joi-Elle White, and Esteets Wright, students of the INSIGHT OUT! PRIDE Workshop along with guest international artists, Nadine Hutton (South Africa), and Fréd Koenig (France).
I will also present a short, historic retrospective of images that represent my GLBTQ social advocacy photography work from the ‘70’s and images depicting gender ambiguity and transformation. This visual memoir includes studio portraits of my female friends exploring erotic pleasure, role-playing and butch/femme identity.
Included will be pictures from recent photography exhibitions documenting my artistic collaboration with gender performance artist and videographer, Frédéric Koenig.
The INSIGHT OUT! PRIDE Digital Storytelling Workshop recently completed an eight-week pilot program at Hudson Pride Connections Center. The workshop is tailored to LGBTQ participants, and gives a visual voice to participants affected by growing up in environments of uncertainty, discrimination, fear and violence, and guides them to explore their creative vision. Each artist poignantly depicts images that mirror their personal views about masculinity, femininity and their LGBTQ identity. As they learn to document their own lives through photography, they grow in confidence and leadership skills, empower themselves and heal.
The workshops at the The Hudson Pride Connections Center were developed and adapted from my experiences as senior trainer, editor and advisor to the international InSIGHT Out! Photography and Creative Exchange Project, based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Posted on November 19, 2011
I just received the beautifully produced catalogue accompanying the exhibition, MAN AS OBJECT: REVERSING THE GAZE at the SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, (opening November 2011). Included in this historic catalogue of 194 artists presented by the National Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) is an image of Frédéric Koenig which I photographed on the morning of the opening of my show, Beyond XY: Four Photographers Explore the Masculine Continuum, at the PHD Gallery in St Louis, MO.
“This exhibit marks an important development in feminist art” writes Brenda Oelbaum in the introduction because “… it comments on the prevelance of the male gaze in art and of the continued domination of male artists exhibiting in galleries and museums. My goal is to turn the tables and exhibit works that put the male in the position of subject and spectacle.”
Janice Nesser-Chu, the President of the National Women’s Caucus for Art, also wrote in the catalogue, “… women artists reverse the gaze and look back at man as object or desire and in doing so they assert their own power and control, not only over their subject but also over their own image and identity. The exhibition is not only about the work on the walls but is about empowerment.”
The description of my work is quoted on page 157:
“These images are part of an ongoing series of portraits that document my collaboration with Frédéric Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, both masculine and feminine. Wearing nothing more than spike heels, he provocatively poses in a gritty, industrial environment that reinforces a traditional male landscape. While his upper body exudes a masculine power, his raw and curvaceous physicality and his archetypal pin-up girl shoes challenge the viewer to explore how we perceive masculinity, sexuality and gender identity.”
Beyond XY: Inside the Abandoned Falstaff Brewery #2, 2010
20 x 30 inches, Archival Pigment Print. Edition of 5.
My photography has been driven by a life-long desire to make a difference through projects that address vital social justice issues and have a positive and transformative effect on the world.
For over thirty-five years, my career has embraced the fields of fine art, photojournalism, portraiture and historic architectural preservation. With an instinct to find the story at the heart of every project, I look to the deeply etched memories in the stones and structures with the same passion that I look to the defining gesture and moment of truth in my portraits and documentary essays.
Compassion, respect and a generosity of spirit are essential components to creating tools of visual advocacy.