Foucault on Acid

March 13, 2021
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007


In 1975, Michel Foucault went on an acid trip at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, California. Accompanied by gay historian Simeon Wade, Foucault's trip and the effects it may have had on his thinking about the history of sexuality is something of intellectual folklore. A recent unearthing of photographs and correspondence between Foucault and Wade, discovered in a storage unit in Oxnard, California and acquired by the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, is evidence of something, but the question is, of what? Foucault on Acid takes the mythology surrounding Foucault's California trip as a prompt to consider how sex and race inform the intersection of archival and desert imaginaries. Unconcerned with truth or falsity, it is an occasion to meditate on the desires we attach to history and place.

The ONE Archives is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by queer Native artist Grace Rosario Perkins, staged with archival materials of Foucault in Death Valley.

The symposium will be rescheduled and will include a performance by queer Filipinx artist Julie Tolentino and Pig Pen (Stosh Fila) alongside readings by Saretta Morgan and Raquel Gutierrez, poets who respectively interrogate detention at the U.S. Mexico border as part of a long history of Latinx labor and black migration.

Participant Biographies:

Raquel Gutiérrez writes personal essays, memoir, art criticism, and poetry. An adult child of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants, she was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where she just completed two MFAs in Poetry and Non-Fiction from the University of Arizona. Raquel is a 2017 recipient of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Raquel also runs the tiny press, Econo Textual Objects (est. 2014), which publishes intimate works by QTPOC poets. Her poetry and essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Open Space, and The New Inquiry. Her first book, Brown Neon, will be published by Coffee House Press in the Spring of 2021.
Saretta Morgan is a Brooklyn-based reader, letter writer, animal keeper, veteran, plant waterer & water color enthusiast interested in [pleasure filled / queer / adverse / state] intimacies, shame and being Black. She is a graduate of the Pratt MFA in writing and has received support from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, the Leslie Scalapino Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Tamaas and others.
Grace Rosario Perkins has spent most of her life moving between city centers, the Navajo Nation, and the Gila River Indian Community. She is interested in disassembling her personal narrative and reassembling it as one that layers words, objects, faces, and signifiers built from cultural dissonance, language, and history. She has exhibited at Varda Artists Residency, Sedona Summer Colony, White Leaves, Kala Art Institute, Oakland Museum of California, and Minnesota Street Project.

Julie Tolentino is a performance installation maker whose work draws from a variety of visual, archival, and movement strategies. Her work has been presented at many venues, including the New Museum, The Kitchen, Danspace Project in NY; Volume, Los Angeles Contemporary, the Broad, and Commonwealth & Council. Other projects include serving as the long-time Provocations co-editor for TDR (The Drama Review). Tolentino was a member of ACTUP and co-founder and organizer of The Clit Club.

This exhibition is curated by Jeanne Vaccaro.

Image: (top) Grace Rosario Perkins, Then I Might Just Do Something, Then I Might Just Fall