Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fossils: Evidence of Queer Life in Pittsburgh from August 1st until August 6th.



Pittsburgh's GLTBQ Pride just passed, but memories of parties and
parades aren't occupying Dani Lamorte's mind. The 25 year-old
Pittsburgh-based queer artist has his sights set on capturing
Pittsburgh's queer past, present, and future within one project.

As part of Future Tenant Gallery's Trespass Residency program, Lamorte
is presenting Fossils: Evidence of Queer Life in Pittsburgh from
August 1st until August 6th. With support from the Sprout Fund, the
week-long foray into queer history will utilize performance and art to
unearth and explore the GLBTQ past of Pittsburgh. In particular,
Fossils aims to connect contemporary members of the queer community
with those who witnessed the ravages of the “plague years”, the most
horrific parts of the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis. Fossils will spotlight a
number of queer artists, performers, activists, and average citizens
with ties to Pittsburgh. Submitted artwork ranges from paintings and
photographs to video art and performances by members of the vogue ball
circuit.

“Coming out in 2004, I felt disconnected from my community's history.
I was aware that queer people had a distinct culture prior to and
during the plague, but I had no access to this legacy,” Lamorte
explains. Attempting to change this solve this problem, he created
Fossils. “Understanding how HIV entirely annihilated a decade of my
people's history, I felt a responsibility to create opportunities for
the queer community to render representations of their presence,
influence, and existence. We cannot expect mainstream society to
document our lives, we have to do it ourselves.”

From August 1st through the 3rd, the gallery will be open during the
day, offering installations wherein visitors can create physical
“fossils” of their presence, including plaster castings and
photographs.

On August 4th, Fossils will showcase In the Time of Judy, a night of
art and performance dedicated to connecting contemporary queers with
their past through screening filmed interviews, performances, and
talks with individuals in the community who witnessed and survived the
ravages of the HIV/AIDS plague of the 1980's.

Following, August 5th will offer tongue-in-cheek ideas of how the
queer community might combat the crises of our present era. During
Alive/Dreaming drag queens will serve soup to “solve world hunger”
while drag kings plant houseplants with gallery-comers to “stop global
warming”, periodically erupting into performance.

On the last night, August 6th, Fossils will present Invisible Light, a
dance party-like atmosphere with intermittent performances. The
finale, which shares the third night's namesake, will evoking the
“queer Divine” through a ”ritual” involving video installation.
Lamorte hopes that this performance will evoke a sense of solidarity
and common purpose while encouraging visitors to dream up images of a
world without intolerance, homophobia, misogyny, and violence.

After the week-long project, Lamorte will be donating copies of the
interview footage and documentation to local libraries. “Every day, a
piece of queer history is forgotten somewhere. It's my hope that
projects like Fossils can stop the erasure of our community and
strengthen our voice.”

About the Sprout Fund: The Sprout Fund enriches the Pittsburgh
region’s vitality by engaging citizens, amplifying voices, supporting
creativity and innovation, and cultivating connected communities.
Founded in 2001, Sprout facilitates community-led solutions to
regional challenges and supports efforts to create a thriving,
progressive, and culturally diverse region. With strong working
relationships to many community organizations and regional
stakeholders, The Sprout Fund is one of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s
leading agencies on issues related to civic engagement, talent
attraction and retention, public art, and catalytic small-scale
funding.

About Future Tenant : Future Tenant provides a laboratory setting for
artists, arts managers and audiences to explore the limits of the
creative expression, presentation and interpretation of various art
forms. It is the goal of Future Tenant to become Pittsburgh's
destination for raw, innovative artistic experiences from across all
visual, literary and performing disciplines. Our activities are driven
by a threefold vision of providing emerging artists with a meaningful
professional experience, becoming the premiere alternative arts space
in downtown Pittsburgh, and helping to revitalize downtown by using
art as a tool for urban redevelopment.

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The Pittsburgh Art Blog features selected pittsburgh artists and upcoming exhibits with photos from the artists and galleries. since the major press outlets do not go beyond a directory listing of exhibits, blogs are needed to promote pittsburgh artists and their work. the blog also calls attention to the inferiority complex of pittsburgh art and how it's perpetuated by the major players in town. Started on August 20,2007. pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site www.PghGalleries.com.

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