Remote Intimacies: Joseph Liatela

Event Details


Please join us for a screening of VITAL RESPONSE by Joseph Liatela followed by a conversation between artist Joseph Liatela and curator and scholar Jeanne Vaccaro. The link for this Zoom event is HERE

VITAL RESPONSE (2020) is a video work that seeks to re-imagine the future of the cultural, historical, and political space of the queer bar. From anti-sodomy laws, to police raids, to the Stonewall riots, to the ongoing AIDS crisis, to the Pulse Orlando mass shooting--the queer bar has endured as a necessary site for social gathering and queer world making, providing a respite from the rigid and prescribed social and cultural parameters of (heterosexual) public space. Importantly, the queer bar has been directly connected to many historical moments of triumph, celebration, and struggle in lgbtqia communties. When contemplating the future of the gay bar in our current moment of physical distancing and uncertainty, rather than resort to despair, Vital Response seeks to imagine how queer people may re-enter, re-imagine, and re-configure the socially, culturally, and politically meaningful, as well as complex, space of the queer bar. In other words, how will we choose to gather when it is safe to dance together once more? Drawing from the writings of José Esteban Muñoz’s essay “Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative”, in which he describes the empty stage at a gay bar as a utopic space embued with queer potentiality, this project seeks to inspire hope in reminding queer people that there is still a dancefloor waiting for you, for us, in the not so distant future. 

Joseph Liatela is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. Through a transgender lens, his work explores the institutional, cultural, and medico-legal notions of what is considered a “complete” or “correct” bodily formation. Using performance, sculpture, and video, he makes work that examines issues of embodiment, biopolitics, gender representation, and questions of authenticity. Liatela’s work has been included in exhibitions for Denniston Hill (Woodridge, NY), Human Resources LA (Los Angeles, CA), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University (Newark, NJ), Field Projects (New York, NY), Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), The Monmouth Museum (Lincroft, NJ), Hubble Street Galleries (San Francisco, CA), Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space (New York, NY), BRIC (Brooklyn, NY), PS122 Gallery (New York, NY), Stellar Projects (New York, NY), Proyecto Galería (Mexico City, CDMX), SUM Gallery (Vancouver, BC), among others.  Liatela’s work has been featured in Artsy, The Leslie Lohman Museum Journal, SF MoMA’s Open Space, KQED Arts, Strange Fire Collective, Revista De La Universidad De México, The East Bay Express, ArtNews, Hyperallergic, Artforum, and Art & Education. Liatela has attended residencies at Signal Fire Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Wassaic Project, Denniston Hill, The Kala Institute, and The Banff Centre. He is a recipient of fellowships and awards from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, California College of the Arts, The Wassaic Project, Denniston Hill, Columbia University, and the Banff Centre. He is currently an MFA candidate in New Genres at Columbia University. 

Remote Intimacies is a series of new and experimental performances created specifically for online viewing and commissioned and co-organized by the ONE Archives at USC Libraries and the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in New York. Debuting October 7 on Zoom, the invited artists will explore how to sustain intimacy in these highly mediated times and how to imagine opportunities for communion across temporal and geographic distances. The series takes its title from scholar Karen Tongson’s theory on the powerful resonance of shared consumption and their capacity to “bring people, things, and concepts together, even if space and time dictates their dispersal and isolation." Participants include Brontez Purnell (October 7); Joseph Liatela (November 18); and Mikki Yamashiro (December 16). Additional artists for the spring Remote Intimacies program will include Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo and Young Joon Kwak. This series is organized and introduced by Stamatina Gregory, Chief Curator and Director of Programs at the Leslie Lohman Museum, Alexis Bard Johnson, Curator and Jeanne Vaccaro, postdoctoral fellow at the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. 


Image: VITAL RESPONSE (2020) by Joseph Liatela, dancer: DaJuan Harris