WHERE: School 33 Art Center, 1427 Light St., Baltimore
At the intersection of quilt-making, storytelling, archiving, and social practice, the Invasive Queer Kudzu project generates leafy, quilted fabric vines adorned with stories that celebrate and make visible Southern queer culture from the past to the present day. Working with LGBTQ+ contributors and archives such as the Gay and Lesbian Center of Baltimore (GLCCB), the project uses kudzu—a fast-growing, climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial—as a slippery metaphor. It invades dominant Southern narratives, reclaiming the ‘monstrous’ vine as a symbol for Southern queer tenacity in the face of homophobic institutions that otherwise obscure our rich histories.
This participatory exhibition features several monuments of the South, both historic and imagined, in the process of being invaded and reclaimed by Invasive Queer Kudzu stories. The gay nightclub serves as retrospective site of revelry, camaraderie, and tragedy in the works Invasive: Pulse Memorial and Invasive: Club Hippo. In the latter work, a scale replica of Baltimore’s erstwhile Club Hippo celebrates one of the country’s oldest continuously-operating gay dance clubs, which is now a CVS in Mount Vernon—a predominantly gay neighborhood which in recent years has faced the closure of many queer gathering spaces.
A series of Saturday Queer Quilting Bees open to the LGBTQ+ community and allies will encourage participants to contribute to the creation of story leaves to be added to the growing installation during the run of the exhibition.
Between 1984 and 1988, 36 shipments of Thiodiglycol (TDG)—a total of 528 tons— left Alcolac International, an industrial chemical plant in Baltimore, en route to the port of Antwerp. The consignment was then transshipped to the port of Aqaba in Jordan and trucked across the desert to Baghdad, where it was transferred to the Muthanna State Establishment, Iraq’s chemical warfare production complex near Samarra.
While Thiodiglycol is utilized as a solvent in a variety of applications ranging from textile dye to the ink in ballpoint pens, it is also used in the production of the chemical weapon sulfur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas. Exposure to mustard agents causes permanent alkylation of DNA strands, preventing cellular division ultimately leading to programmed cell death. At 11am on March 16th, 1988, an estimate of twenty aircraft attacked Halabja, a Kurdish city across the Iran-Iraq border. The chemicals dropped by the planes included mustard gas, and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX. The estimated number of civilians killed during the five hour attack ranges from 3,200-5,000, with an additional 7,000-10,000 injured. As many as to 75% of the victims were women and children.
Taha Heydari is an Iranian artist born in Tehran in 1986. Dual-Use: Baltimore to Samarra, featuring sculpture, large scale assemblage works, found objects, and video, is his first solo exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland.
Adam Holofcener’s installation, Practice/Performance, uses a range of different media to engage participants in what it may mean for an individual to tether oneself legally, metaphysically, or otherwise to another human being in a caregiving posture. Utilizing previously internet-broadcast home video recordings, handcrafted scores featuring graphic notation, an interactive soundscape, and an accompanying tape cassette album release, Practice/Performance manifests a space soaked in amniotic fluid and inquiry. What truths, from the banal to revelatory, do we seek to communicate with those we look after? By what means do we tell them? How do we cope with the exercise? Don’t worry; this is the most natural stuff in the world.
Adam Holofcener, a native of Baltimore, works in many creative disciplines, but likes to think of himself primarily as a sound artist, composer, and performer. By day, Adam serves as director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (MdVLA).
Plus! Don't Miss These Upcoming Events
Invasive Queer Kudzu: Baltimore
Queer Quilting Bee Workshops
WHEN: May 12, 19, 26; June 2, 9 & 23, 11am-4pm. Artist Talk: Saturday, June 9, 2-3pm
Concurrent with Aaron McIntosh's exhibition, Invasive Queer Kudzu: Baltimore in the Main Gallery. Visitors can contribute their own queer stories or ally messages of support to the growing mass of vines on a monumental tribute to Baltimore's erstwhile Club Hippo, one of the country's oldest gay dance clubs until its closure in 2015. On Saturdays during the exhibition, the artist and various community organizers are hosting Queer Quilting Bees, where the Queer Kudzu story leaves will be quilted in queer and ally community. On June 9, Aaron McIntosh will be giving an artist talk about his practice and the Invasive Queer Kudzu project. All ages and experience levels are welcome to participate in these workshops.
Tape Release Party
WHEN: Thursday, June 14, 7-9pm
Join us for the release of Adam Holofcener's newest tape, Mostly Best Boy Versos (Kunstemporary Records). The compositions on this tape were crafted in conjunction with his installation Practice/Performance, on view in the Project Space. The genre of Mostly Best Boy Versos can loosely be called "experimental country;" existential twang with aleatoric elements. There will be performances by Adam Holofcener and additional acts throughout the night.
Yoga in the Gallery
with Amanda Agricola
WHEN: Saturday, June 16, 11am-12pm
Join us for Yoga in the Gallery with Amanda Agricola! Relax and stretch among the artworks in our galleries. There is a $5-10 suggested donation, and bring your own mat!
Dual-Use: Baltimore to Samarra
WHEN: Artist Talk: Saturday, June 23, 2pm
Join us for an Artist Talk with Taha Heydari to learn more about the artist and his exhibition in the Members Gallery.