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Marlon Riggs

Ni’Ja Whitson’s “A Meditation On Tongues” Conjures The Dead At Abrons

by Emily Colucci on January 11, 2017
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Sitting in Ni’Ja Whitson’s A Meditation On Tongues Sunday night, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching ghosts. Part of the American Realness festival, their moving performance (Note: Ni’Ja identifies as gender non-specific and prefers the pronouns “they/their”) reinterpreted Marlon Riggs’s seminal 1989 film Tongues Untied, which explored the fraught intersection of black and gay male identity during the critical years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

More than an ode to an important cultural object, A Meditation On Tongues seemed like a raising of the dead. By appropriating the film’s dialogue and imagery, Whitson and their fellow performers channeled the lost generation of black gay men depicted in the film through the bodies of today’s gender nonconforming and queer artists of color. This allowed Whitson to not only address a wider range of gender presentations, but also powerfully represent the ongoing legacy of Riggs and other late poets, writers and dancers in Tongues Untied.

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Black Is and Black Ain’t in Pace Gallery’s “Blackness in Abstraction”

by Emily Colucci on August 18, 2016
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“Black is and black ain’t.” Walking through Pace Gallery’s current exhibition Blackness in Abstraction, I began to think about that title line from Marlon Riggs’s final film—taken from the prologue of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. Even more than the pervasive “Black is beautiful,” this curiously ambiguous phrase hints at the multitude of meanings, voices, and questions surrounding blackness in the exhibition.

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Dirty Looks: A Month of Queer Interventions

by Alex Fialho on July 9, 2012
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July is shaping up to be an exciting month for queer art in the city, with a series of daily interventions titled “On Location” curated by Dirty Looks, the self-described “Monthly Roaming Platform for Queer Experimental Film and Video.” Dirty Looks has coordinated a screening or celebration in an art venue or a queer social site each and every day of the month, so if you have already missed out on the first few screenings (it is July 9th after all!), we are here to fill you in on some upcoming events that should not be overlooked.

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