Upcoming SOMArts exhibition reflects on precarity, features work by Ed Aulerich-Sugai

Image credit: Bernice Bing, courtesy of the Bernice Bing estate

Image credit: Bernice Bing, courtesy of the Bernice Bing estate

Creative Labor presents: Precarious Lives opening reception
Thursday, June 6–Saturday, June 29, 2019
SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street

Precarious Lives marks the 22nd annual National Queer Arts Festival visual arts exhibition hosted by SOMArts Cultural Center. This year’s Creative Labor exhibition opens its field of view beyond its primary focus on creating a site of visibility for queer art to include the work of non-queer identified artists whose work has been instrumental in building the social and aesthetic network within which we understand and experience cultural difference and our own queerness. The exhibition looks outward from the public space SOMArts has created over the years—a safe, welcoming, inclusive physical place that affirms our presence as valued art-workers in our increasingly unsettled times.

Building on the foundational work of philosopher Judith Butler’s notion of “precarity,” the term is used in the context of this exhibition as a condition that expresses the fundamental vulnerability of life. It points to an unsettled state of being on the verge of collapse, open to violence, subject to dispossession, heightened risk of physical and emotional breakdown, even premature death. It asks whose lives are worthy of visibility, of care. Whose lives lie beyond social norms and acceptance? Whose lives are erased, distorted or excluded from recognition by economic instability, cultural prejudice or legal status? And from this precarious position, it locates a site from which political demands and principles emerge and unfold in a multiplicity of aesthetic acts as resistance and affirmation. Precarity “implies living socially, the fact that one’s life is always in some sense in the hands of the other. It implies exposure both to those we know and to those we do not know; a dependency on people we know, or barely know, or know not at all.” This interdependent existence of precariousness holds political potentiality and opens us to the type of responsive action operating in the art/work presented in this exhibition. As Creative Labor (Queer Artists Working Group), we seek to express the fullness of our queerness in this reflection as self with others—in this interdependence, vulnerability and care.

Precarious Lives is the third and final installment of a trilogy of exhibitions titled, The Turning, Queerly curated by Rudy Lemcke for Creative Labor. This project proposes a reframing of the idea of queer subjectivity as autonomous self-in-need-of-liberation to consider the self as self-with-others as the condition of possibility for modes of thinking about queerness in our technological age of networked connectivity (Self to #Selfie, 2017); it explores the sometimes-violent socio-political frame into which our identities have been thrown (A History of Violence, 2018); and considers the underlying conditions of human vulnerability as the site of care and futurity realized through the transformational labor of art (Precarious Lives, 2019).

Ed Aulerich-Sugai,  Xray  series, 1980. Acrylic. 45 x 30 inches.

Ed Aulerich-Sugai, Xray series, 1980. Acrylic. 45 x 30 inches.

Rudy Lemcke

Marlon Riggs
Barbara Hammer
Lordes Portillo
Lenore Chinn
Rhodessa Jones
Carlos Loarca
René Yanez
Guillermo Gómez-Peña
Nancy Hom
Justin Hoover
Michelle Tea
Bernice Bing
Madeleine Lim
Tina Takemoto
Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
Flo Wong
Ester Hernandez
Ed Aulerich-Sugai
Sean Dorsey
Shawna Virago
Marcela Pardo Ariza
Scott MacLeod
Mia Nakano/Visibility Project
Katie Gilmartin

Jorge Mata Flores
Joan Chen
Amman Desai
Corey Brown
Sasha Solomonov
Amari Robinson
Renée Jones
Eva Ovalle

Micah Bazant
Kevin Caplicki
Thea Gahr
Thomas Greyeyes
Nicolas Lampert
Fernando Marti
Colin Matthes
Nicolas Medina
Roger Peet
Gilda Posada
Jesse Purcell
Pete Railand
Favianna Rodriguez
Julio Salgado
Meredith Stern
David Tim
Rommy Torrico
Mary Tremonte
Erin Yoshi
Bec Young

Precarious Lives Film, Literary and Performance Series
at SOMArts Cultural Center

Thursday, June 6th
Opening Reception and Film Screening of Tongues Untied by Marlon T. Riggs

Tuesday, June 11th
Performance Night | Curated by Micia Mosely

Tuesday, June 18th
Literary/Spoken Word Night | Curated by Audaciously Speaking

Tuesday, June 25th
Experimental Film Night | Curated by Malic Amalya