n e w f l e s h
“The artists in newflesh abstract the subjects and materials they use. These works embody a mastery of what is possible in front of the camera, as well as technologically once the photo has been made. These images force us to look beyond the familiar, so that we may see them for what they could become.”
Curator, writer, and artist, Efrem Zelony-Mindell has been busy. After releasing their first monograph, n e w f l e s h, published by Gnomic Book, they just opened an exhibition under the same title at The Light Factory running from August 29th – October 11th, 2019. They present a whole new way of seeing self, “refusing to view a person as disparate or specific to parts or expectations. Behind the flesh, there is more than a man or a woman. There’s a person—a human—full of so many parts, feelings, and ideas.” The book features a collection of works by 68 artists with essays by Charlotte Cotton and Ashley McNelis and addresses the question, What does queerness look like beyond the body? newflesh hopes to reclaim certain ideas of what queer is capable of.
The Light Factory exhibition features includes work by Mitchell Barton, Matthew Bradley, Joshua Citarella, Kenta Cobayashi, Stephen Frailey, Sheree Hovsepian, Inka & Niclas, Bill Jacobson, Ina Jang, Ken Lavey, May Lin Le Goff, John Lehr, KC Crow Maddux, Joseph Maida, Stephen Milner, Robin Myers, Sarah Palmer, Jessica Pettway, Reeve Schumacher, Brea Souders, Patricia Voulgaris, Martin Wannam
Efrem Zelony-Mindell‘s curatorial endeavors include shows in New York City: n e w f l e s h, Are You Loathsome, Familiar Strange, and This Is Not Here. They write about art for Unseen, DEAR DAVE, VICE, Musée Magazine, SPOT, and essays for artists’ monographs. Their first book n e w f l e s h, published by New York’s Gnomic Book, will be available in late August of 2019. They received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts.
n e w f l e s h
There’s intrigue between the camera, the figure, and the viewer. There’s an impression that one’s body leads to sexuality, gender, and identity. Sure. But then there’s this flood of nudity and genitalia coupled with that work. It’s social; it’s pornographic; it’s fine art.
The boom of interest in gender, identity, queerness and the study of these subjects are often exemplified by an idealized sexuality. The body gets in the way. A person isn’t the simplicity of their genitals, nor is their gender, character, or their desirability. A person is not assigned or intentional. Behind labels, like man or woman, there’s a human full of many parts, feelings, and ideas. The camera can personify these characteristics. It’s dangerous and intelligent in the hands of hungry makers. The self isn’t as definitive as it is ephemeral. Queer has got to be about acknowledging possibility, being strange, new, or maybe even unusual.
It becomes intimate. If you’ll have it.
Anatomy needs stripping of formalities. That future hopefully leads to inclusivity. These works epitomize the desire to stray from the straight and narrow. They have many things in common; homosexuality isn’t one of them. And yet they’re totally queer. They alter reality and reinvent assumed concepts of individuality. They allow for imperfections and unfamiliarity. They have clarity in that uncertainty.
The works ascend peculiarity; they do have that in common.
Theirs is an aesthetic of confusion. The disorder of the recognizable plays on the desire to understand. Customs inform a history of who we were. Celebrating and saying no to them will eviscerate their toxicity, and allow us to become what we’re capable of. Social norms and cultures must be free game.
What can be seen is temporary.
These images are beyond repugnant but rejuvenated in perception. A body has parts, but the simplification of its identifiers, especially those around gender, is a control. The future must be overhauled. We are learning to see. There’s a place inside each of us where we know nothing – there’s no telling what happens there. We are becoming ourselves, and everything’s equal. The body’s potential exists beyond its conventions. Places where bones and beliefs meet will glue new arrangements into bouquets of formidable aptitude. These works create a new reflection so that we can stop just looking at the things we know, so that we may see them for what they could become. There are no limits; there is imagination. The things worth valuing will fill us up. These images are of a new flesh, they expose that truth can no longer be finalized.
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Distinction at the Photographic Center North WestMay 2nd, 2020
Photography and the Surreal Imagination at The Menil CollectionApril 18th, 2020
Jo Sandman: The Restless SpiritApril 17th, 2020
Project 2020 at the Los Angeles Center of PhotographyApril 4th, 2020