FALL 2017


FALL 2017
This Fall, Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, the Latest Installment in the Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture Series
27. September 2017– 21. January 2018
curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator
of Education and Public Engagement, with Natalie Bell,
Assistant Curator, and Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator.
Second, Third, and Fourth Floors
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002


Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Toxic, 2012 (still, detail). Super 16mm film transferred to HD; 13 min. Courtesy the artists, Ellen de Bruijne Projects, and Galerie Marcelle Alix

To mark the New Museum’s 40th anniversary, the Museum will present several special exhibitions during its fall 2017 season and will inaugurate a new temporary gallery space in the adjacent building to the south. The Museum-wide survey “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” leads the season, with single-artist exhibitions by Kahlil Joseph and Petrit Halilaj also on view. The exhibitions by Joseph and Halilaj will be new site-specific projects filling new temporary galleries that connect the Ground Floor of the Museum with its adjacent building at 231 Bowery.



Cover of Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton


New York, NY…This fall, the New Museum will publish Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton. Trap Door, to be released November 2017, is the third installment in the New Museum’s Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture series, following the publication of Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century (2015), edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter, and Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (2016), edited by Johanna Burton, Shannon Jackson, and Dominic Willsdon.
The increasing representation of trans identity throughout art and popular culture in recent years has been nothing if not paradoxical. Trans visibility is continually touted as a sign of liberalist transformation, but it has coincided precisely with a political moment marked both by heightened violence against trans people (especially trans women of color) and by the suppression of trans rights under civil law. Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility grapples with these contradictions. It both considers how mainstream representation and co-optation inevitably alter trans identities and confronts the radical incongruity of society’s simultaneous acceptance and forceful rejection of those same identities.
The essays, conversations, and dossiers gathered in Trap Door delve into themes as wide-ranging yet interconnected as beauty, performativity, activism, and police brutality. Collectively, they attest to how trans people are frequently offered “doors”—entrances to visibility and recognition—that are actually “traps,” accommodating trans bodies and communities only insofar as they cooperate with hegemonic norms. In turn, the volume speculates about a third term, perhaps uniquely suited for our time: the trapdoor, that clever contraption that is neither entrance nor exit, but instead a secret passageway leading elsewhere. Building on the legacy of art historical and related dialogues around difference, Trap Door thus ignites a conversation that extends through and beyond trans culture, insisting that while these debates and dialogues are specific, they nevertheless have great relevance for anyone invested in the ethics of visual culture.
“In conjunction with the fall exhibition ‘Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,’ Trap Door continues a deep exploration of gender across the New Museum’s fall 2017 programming, with this extraordinary collection of essays and authors probing the topic of trans identity in contemporary culture,” said Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director of the New Museum.



27. September 2017– 21. January 2018
Curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator
of Education and Public Engagement, with Natalie Bell,
Assistant Curator, and Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator.
Second Floor, Third Floor, and Fourth Floor


Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Darkroom Mirror (0X5A1531), 2017. Archival pigment print, 51 × 34 in (129.5 × 86.4 cm). Courtesy the artist and Yancey Richardson, New York



The New Museum has been committed to urgent ideas since its inception, devoting many exhibitions and programs over the years to issues of representation with regard to gender and sexuality: “Extended Sensibilities” (1982), “Difference” (1984–85), “Homo Video” (1986–87), and “Bad Girls” (1994) are just four notable examples. Following in this tradition, and in the Museum’s 40th anniversary year, “Trigger” extends the conversation around identity, considering how even a fluid conception of gender is nonetheless marked by ongoing negotiations of power and cannot be understood outside its complex intersections with race, class, sexuality, and disability. The exhibition’s title, “Trigger,” takes into account that word’s range of meanings, variously problematic and potent; the term evokes both traumatic recall and mechanisms that, set into motion, are capable of igniting radical change.

The exhibition will feature more than forty artists working across a variety of mediums and genres, including film, video, performance, painting, sculpture, photography, and craft. Many embrace explicit pleasure and visual lushness as political strategies, and some deliberately reject or complicate overt representation, turning to poetic language, docufiction, and abstraction to affirm ambiguities and reflect shifting physical embodiment. Representing no single point of view, and in some cases presenting productively contradictory positions, “Trigger” will assemble artists for their singular efforts in considering gender’s capacity to represent a more general refusal of stable categorization—a refusal at the heart of today’s most compelling artistic practices.

Artist List
Morgan Bassichis (b. 1983) Sadie Benning (b. 1973)
Nayland Blake (b. 1960) Justin Vivian Bond (b. 1963) Gregg Bordowitz (b. 1964)
Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz (working together since 2007)
Nancy Brooks Brody (b. 1962) A.K. Burns (b. 1975) and A.L. Steiner (b. 1967)
Leidy Churchman (b. 1979) Liz Collins (b. 1968) Vaginal Davis (b. 1969)
Harry Dodge (b. 1966) Dyke Division of the Two-Headed Calf (founded in 2008)
Josh Faught (b. 1979) ektor garcia (b. 1985) Mariah Garnett (b. 1980)
Reina Gossett (b. 1983) and Sasha Wortzel (b. 1983) Sharon Hayes (b. 1970)
House of Ladosha (founded in 2007) Stanya Kahn (b. 1968)
Carolyn Lazard (b. 1987) Simone Leigh (b. 1967) Ellen Lesperance (b. 1971)
Candice Lin (b. 1979) Troy Michie (b. 1985) Ulrike Müller (b. 1971)
Willa Nasatir (b. 1990) Sondra Perry (b. 1986) Christina Quarles (b. 1985)
Connie Samaras (b. 1950) Curtis Talwst Santiago (b. 1979)
Tschabalala Self (b. 1990) Paul Mpagi Sepuya (b. 1982)
Tuesday Smillie (b. 1981) Sable Elyse Smith (b. 1986) Patrick Staff (b. 1987)
Diamond Stingily (b. 1990) Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971)
Wu Tsang (b. 1982) Chris E. Vargas (b. 1978) Geo Wyeth (b. 1984)
Anicka Yi (b. 1971)

The artists in “Trigger” share a desire to contest repressive orders and to speculate on new forms and aesthetics—a desire to picture other futures. For many, developing new vocabularies necessarily entails a productive reworking of historical configurations. A number of artists in the exhibition—including Josh Faught, Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, Ellen Lesperance, Mickalene Thomas, and Candice Lin—return to archival materials in order to critique, build upon, and explore longstanding dialogues and debates around intersectionality, alliance, and the project of world-building. Beauty is not supplemental to politics here, but central to the process of positing new worlds and building new social structures. The exhibition brings together a range of practitioners, some with a longstanding commitment to activism—such as Nancy Brooks Brody, an original member of the collective Fierce Pussy, and Vaginal Davis, who has long critiqued systematic oppression tied to gender, race, class, and sexuality—alongside emerging artists such as Sable Elyse Smith, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Chris Vargas, whose works variously plumb mechanisms of regulation.

The exhibition will include a number of commissioned works, including a major new braided sculpture by Diamond Stingily that pierces through gallery floors, trailing from the Fourth Floor all the way down to the Museum’s Lobby, and alludes to the racial dimensions of beauty conventions as well as to Medusa, the mythological snake-haired woman whose gaze could turn men into stone. Nayland Blake will produce a life-size suit of his “fursona” named Gnomen, which will be periodically inhabited and activated throughout the course of the exhibition. Tuesday Smillie will continue a recent series of textile works that both refer to significant historical protest signs—such as those constructed by Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and other members of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries—and present new slogans. ektor garcia will present a series of site-specific, readymade sculptures that evoke S&M fetish gear and Mexican housewares while suggesting movement away from definitive gender and sexual roles.

Commissioned performances will feature prominently in the exhibition, with the premiere of a two-part musical by Morgan Bassichis that returns to the influential 1977 publication The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions, live music organized by Simone Leigh and staged inside her installation, and a series of performance-lectures on masculinities by Gregg Bordowitz. The exhibition will also include a special three-episode reunion of Dyke Division’s Room for Cream, the live lesbian soap opera presented at La MaMa theater in New York from 2008 to 2010.

The exhibition is curated by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, with Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator, and Sara O’Keeffe, Assistant Curator. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue designed by Joseph Logan and published by the New Museum. The catalogue includes essays by Rizvana Bradley and Jeannine Tang, as well as a conversation between Mel Y. Chen and Julia Bryan-Wilson. It also includes genealogies organized by Sara O’Keeffe, an institutional archival portfolio, and transcripts of roundtable conversations between members of the exhibition’s advisory group: Lia Gangitano, Ariel Goldberg, Jack Halberstam, Fred Moten, and Eric A. Stanley.



“Kahlil Joseph”
27. September 2017– 7. January 2018
curated by Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni,
Edlis Neeson Artistic Director.
South Galleries, Ground Floor
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002



Kahlil Joseph, m.A.A.d., 2014 (still, detail). 35mm film transferred to two-channel video, sound, color; 15:26 min. Courtesy the artist



In his captivating short films, Los Angeles–based artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph (b. 1981, Seattle) conjures the vibrant and impressionistic quality of dreams through a kaleidoscope of quotidian scenes and intimate moments. In recent years, much of Joseph’s filmmaking has taken shape through collaborations with some of the most respected and forward-thinking hip-hop, jazz, indie, and electronic musicians working today, including Arcade Fire, FKA Twigs, Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Sampha, and Shabazz Palaces. For this exhibition, his first solo presentation in New York, Joseph will debut a new black-and-white film that draws inspiration from photographer Roy DeCarava (1919–2009), whose images of celebrated jazz musicians and everyday life in Harlem Joseph has long admired. Drawing from DeCarava’s virtuosity with chiaroscuro effects and his commitment to representations that reflect the rhythms of daily life, Joseph’s new film will consider the dimensions of past, present, and future in Harlem and New York City.

For his New Museum exhibition, this new work will be presented in an installation together with m.A.A.d. (2014), a lush two-channel portrait of Compton, CA, that blends home video footage from the early 1990s with Joseph’s own footage, shot two decades later. Seen together, these works will serve as foils to one another, offering a conversation between two contrasting urban settings and the people who call them home. While m.A.A.d. offers a predominantly contemporary image, Joseph’s new work will extend beyond the present day—yet, in the spirit of DeCarava and true to Joseph’s past work, music will figure centrally in both. Surrounding the viewer with large-scale projections and immersive soundscapes, both works will reflect on the ways identity, memory, and spirituality are negotiated and expressed in distinct but equally influential cultural landscapes. The exhibition is curated by Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director.

This exhibition further debuts a new gallery, providing artists a dynamic project space in the Museum to premiere or display new work and new productions.


“Petrit Halilaj”
27. September 2017– 7. January 2018
curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator.
South Galleries, Ground Floor
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002



Petrit Halilaj, Si Okarina e Runikut, 2014 (detail). Installation view: “Yes but the sea is attached to the Earth and it never floats around in space. The stars would turn off and what about my planet?,” kamel mennour, Paris. © Petrit Halilaj. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London. Photo: Fabrice Seixas & archives kamel mennour



In his work, Petrit Halilaj (b. 1986, Kostërrc, Skenderaj-Kosovo) often departs from his own biography and makes use of exhibition processes to alter the course of private and collective histories. Encompassing sculpture, drawing, text, and video, many of Halilaj’s works incorporate materials from his native Kosovo and manifest as ambitious spatial installations through which the artist translates personal relationships into sculptural forms. His contribution to the 6th Berlin Biennial (2010) featured a life-size supporting structure for his family’s new home; the work comprised both the construction of this home in Pristina and its ghost shell on view in Berlin. In another project from 2013, Halilaj uncovered and recreated the deteriorated collection of the natural history museum in Kosovo, which had been discarded after the end of the Kosovo War in the 1990s.

For his New Museum exhibition, Halilaj will present an ambitious new project that begins in Runik, the city in which he was born and the site of one of the earliest Neolithic settlements in the region, where some of Kosovo’s most significant artifacts have been found—among them a small musical instrument known as the Runik Ocarina. The Ocarina, part of a collection of objects held by the Serbian government since the war, represents a heritage inaccessible to citizens of Kosovo. Through his work, Halilaj will trace residents’ recollections of remaining archaeological objects as personal origin stories and, by recreating their annexed collection, will give shape to a material heritage that currently exists only in their imagination. Halilaj was recently awarded a special mention by the Jury at the 57th Venice Biennale. The exhibition is curated by Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator.

This exhibition also debuts a new gallery, providing artists a dynamic project space in the Museum to premiere or display new work and new productions.




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