Sunday, November 18, 2012


Heather Cassils is a whole different level of performance artist. In addition to being an artist she is a bodybuilder and trainer, and her body is inseparable from her art. She has done multiple projects that include body manipulation (generally through regimented exercise) that question notions of gender and practice. Honestly, she does so much it's really hard to try and explain in her a paragraph, so I'm going to paste a bio I found on Huffington Post to help me:

"Heather Cassils is a Canadian artist, body builder and personal trainer who uses an exaggerated physique to intervene and interrogate systems of power and control. Often employing many of the same strategies used by FLUXUS and guerrilla theater, Cassils’s method is multidisciplinary and cross a spectrum of performance, video, and photography. From dabbling in stunts to a stint as a semi pro boxer, Cassils’s path has led from the blaze of a full body burn to brushing lips with pop stars. Cassils’s solo physical performances are informed by a decade of working in the collective Toxic Titties, but are grounded in the exploration of the specific possibilities of the body, as both instrument and image."

One of my favorite performances of hers is called TERSIAS, based on the mythological character of the same name who was blind and famous for being transformed into a woman for 7 years. She "wore cataract lenses to cloud [her] vision and held [her] body against a neo classical greek make torso, carved out of ice, to fit [her] body exactly. Throughout the event [she] melted the torso with [her] own body heat enacting his gender transformation." 

Her other projects involve her adopting different work regiments to sculpt her body in different ways, or using her body to sculpt other substances like clay. 

Since most of her stuff is based on performance or large-scale multi-media installations, y'all should check our her website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Del LaGrace

From their website:

As a gender variant visual artist I access 'technologies of gender' in order to amplify rather than erase the hermaphroditic traces of my body. I name myself. A gender abolitionist. A part time gender terrorist. An intentional mutation and intersex by design, (as opposed to diagnosis), in order to distinguish my journey from the thousands of intersex individuals who have had their 'ambiguous' bodies mutilated and disfigured in a misguided attempt at 'normalization'. I believe in crossing the line as many times as it takes to build a bridge we can all walk across. 

Del LaGrace Volcano, September 2005

I really like a lot of they're portraits...there is more respect given to the bodies of the people being photographed -- that their genders and bodies are made less of a spectacle, perhaps this is because the artist offers themselves in many of the portraits as well. It seems more that they're asking other genderqueer individuals to help their personal quest to reconcile and erase gender. 

I would suggest going to they're site and looking at the projects SELVES and CLASSICS. GENDERQUEER also has some beautiful portraits.

The website won't let me copy the images, but here are links to some of my favorites!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thatiana Oliveira

This is someone who Jray went to grad school with. She's crazy awesome and does things like give people tongue baths and paint them with blood or red paint(its unclear) with her hair. She seems to work with really raw, base human processes, like drooling and menstruating. I think she's awesome. I mostly wish I was as gutsy as her...

This is a link to the video page of her website because I couldn't embed the videos in this post..

Karen Finley

I'm not sure how into all of her work I am, but she works a lot with natural substances (milk, breast milk, honey) which are all inherently feminine and she uses them in a performative way to interact with her body and identity as a woman. It's hard to find out a lot of information about her work on the internet, except that her work started out in the punk movement and is often criticized for being obscene. She seems to be a feminist artist, yet she was also very proud of being featured in playboy and women-empowerment magazines simultaneously. The project I'm featuring here is a series a photographs and a performance that she has done multiple times in the past decade involving honey.