Clare Counihan
Curated Exhibition

Food Worlds

What are the historical determinants and legacies of Filipino foods? How do foods travel as part of the labor diaspora? How does food ground, enable or destabilize Filipino identities? Explore the virtual curated exhibition "Food Worlds" to find the answers.

Explore
Welcome

Ronaldo Wilson

Please join us in welcoming our newest member of the Board of Directors, Ronaldo Wilson!

Dialogues

Beyond the Horizon of Death?

Reflecting on the antecedents and aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda’s devastating landfall, Gina Apostol, Joi Barrios, Kale Fajardo, Dylan Rodriguez and Teresia Teaiwa layer a sea of ideas about the legacy of defeat, military occupation, racial genocide, and a Pacific coalition.

Opening

Queer Sights and Sounds

Queer Sites and Sounds is opening at ARTSblock in Riverside, CA, on September 4, 2014!

commissioned

New Works

As part of its mission to generate new modes of knowledge production and creative and critical lenses for understanding and transforming global conditions, CA+T invites an established or up-and-coming artist to produce new art piece in conjunction with each curated exhibition. The artist may respond to the exhibition’s theme in any manner, from the broad to the specific, or medium, from writing to visual to performance-based, that s/he chooses. The resulting work is launched alongside the new curated exhibition.

Pig Face: A San Francisco Love Story

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

2014 Essay. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

b. 1981
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in interdisciplinary art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a lecturer at University of California, Merced and has been an instructor at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Washington, DC); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, and SomArts; the San Jose Museum of Art; Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA); California State University, Fullerton; Stanford University, Voice of Witness (Chicago, IL); and the Future Food House in Rotterdam. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and a board member at Kearny Street Workshop. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, California, and a recent Lucas Artist Program Resident at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com

For the Love/Hate of Curry

A golden, aromatic spice blend that is prized by some and reviled by others, curry powder is a polarizing substance. Over the past five years I have used it as a dye, perfume, and pigment in my art practice. But I rarely eat the bottled stuff.

What, exactly, is curry? It is a delicious dish and an inadequate word. As food historian Thy Tran once told me, it is a word that falls short because it attempts to use the language of the colonizer to describe the many foods of the colonized. The first reference to curry powder was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1961), a book to aid British housewives in the particulars of maintaining a proper home in the colonies. I began to trace my own history through an alternative spice route. Being Indian and Japanese Colombian American, we ate curry all the time in our house. Indian cooks don’t usually use curry powder--but my mother, who is Colombian-born Japanese, made the kind that came out of a box. She mixed it with chicken, carrots and potatoes to create one of my favorite meals (coincidentally, the most popular brand of curry powder happens to be my initials, “S&B” and so I took it as a sign that I was meant to work with the material). Why does Japan’s #1 dish come from a package? Japan was introduced to curry by the British who made a roux of flour and fat with the spice blend. The Indian varieties? Those were more difficult to define. My father is from a small village outside of Kolkata. I still have no idea what is and isn’t a “curry.” Neither does my family. It’s just food in sauce – but it’s so much more.

After my first installation with curry powder in 2008, I searched the phrase “smells like curry” online. I suppose I expected to find a racist joke or two and a few recipes. Instead, I found thousands of entries referring to the way Indian people smelled. The one I will always remember was a posting on Yahoo! Answers:

Q: Help, my neighbor’s house smells like curry.
A: Call the INS.

I became obsessed with this anonymous entry. For the first time I realized that race is constructed by more than what we see.

Over the next few years I sprinkled curry powder through the streets of Oakland, opened a Curry Institute (2011) at Whitman College, where visitors could chart their own Curry Cartography, and worked with perfumer Yosh Han to create a curry perfume called Gilt (2010) just because I wanted everyone to have the right to smell like curry. Eventually the spice pieces made their way onto the walls themselves.

Although my ingredients span the globe, I always source my materials from family-owned businesses. I had been purchasing ingredients from Bombay Bazaar, a hidden grocery store that had closed and re-opened in San Francisco’s wildly gentrifying Mission district. The last time I went in to say hello, the store had disappeared. Shelves, fluorescent lighting, and all. It is with the last batch of spices purchased at this shop that I created Dear Indian Grocery Store both in the bathroom of 18 Reasons in San Francisco and at the San Jose Museum of Art in November 2013. Feeling yet another loss in a city I recognize less and less, I wrote an open letter to the grocery store. This letter always accompanies the installation. As with my previous installations, the excess curry powder collected from the installation will be used to dye napkins and tablecloths for a sliding-scale community dinner. The curry powder is reserved for the art - it is rarely used in the cooking of the meal.

Most Indian cooks would never be caught with curry powder in their kitchens - it limits the complexity and variety of a dish. This powder is India concentrate. This is the myth we expect in Indian supermarkets, restaurants, and, yes, even people. But this complicated blend has also been transformed into the unique flavors of comfort all over the world.

location

X
  • Born: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

comments

X

Pig Face: A Love Story (Sisig)

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

2014 Watercolor on paper 5 in. x 7 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

b. 1981
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in interdisciplinary art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a lecturer at University of California, Merced and has been an instructor at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Washington, DC); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, and SomArts; the San Jose Museum of Art; Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA); California State University, Fullerton; Stanford University, Voice of Witness (Chicago, IL); and the Future Food House in Rotterdam. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and a board member at Kearny Street Workshop. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, California, and a recent Lucas Artist Program Resident at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com

For the Love/Hate of Curry

A golden, aromatic spice blend that is prized by some and reviled by others, curry powder is a polarizing substance. Over the past five years I have used it as a dye, perfume, and pigment in my art practice. But I rarely eat the bottled stuff.

What, exactly, is curry? It is a delicious dish and an inadequate word. As food historian Thy Tran once told me, it is a word that falls short because it attempts to use the language of the colonizer to describe the many foods of the colonized. The first reference to curry powder was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1961), a book to aid British housewives in the particulars of maintaining a proper home in the colonies. I began to trace my own history through an alternative spice route. Being Indian and Japanese Colombian American, we ate curry all the time in our house. Indian cooks don’t usually use curry powder--but my mother, who is Colombian-born Japanese, made the kind that came out of a box. She mixed it with chicken, carrots and potatoes to create one of my favorite meals (coincidentally, the most popular brand of curry powder happens to be my initials, “S&B” and so I took it as a sign that I was meant to work with the material). Why does Japan’s #1 dish come from a package? Japan was introduced to curry by the British who made a roux of flour and fat with the spice blend. The Indian varieties? Those were more difficult to define. My father is from a small village outside of Kolkata. I still have no idea what is and isn’t a “curry.” Neither does my family. It’s just food in sauce – but it’s so much more.

After my first installation with curry powder in 2008, I searched the phrase “smells like curry” online. I suppose I expected to find a racist joke or two and a few recipes. Instead, I found thousands of entries referring to the way Indian people smelled. The one I will always remember was a posting on Yahoo! Answers:

Q: Help, my neighbor’s house smells like curry.
A: Call the INS.

I became obsessed with this anonymous entry. For the first time I realized that race is constructed by more than what we see.

Over the next few years I sprinkled curry powder through the streets of Oakland, opened a Curry Institute (2011) at Whitman College, where visitors could chart their own Curry Cartography, and worked with perfumer Yosh Han to create a curry perfume called Gilt (2010) just because I wanted everyone to have the right to smell like curry. Eventually the spice pieces made their way onto the walls themselves.

Although my ingredients span the globe, I always source my materials from family-owned businesses. I had been purchasing ingredients from Bombay Bazaar, a hidden grocery store that had closed and re-opened in San Francisco’s wildly gentrifying Mission district. The last time I went in to say hello, the store had disappeared. Shelves, fluorescent lighting, and all. It is with the last batch of spices purchased at this shop that I created Dear Indian Grocery Store both in the bathroom of 18 Reasons in San Francisco and at the San Jose Museum of Art in November 2013. Feeling yet another loss in a city I recognize less and less, I wrote an open letter to the grocery store. This letter always accompanies the installation. As with my previous installations, the excess curry powder collected from the installation will be used to dye napkins and tablecloths for a sliding-scale community dinner. The curry powder is reserved for the art - it is rarely used in the cooking of the meal.

Most Indian cooks would never be caught with curry powder in their kitchens - it limits the complexity and variety of a dish. This powder is India concentrate. This is the myth we expect in Indian supermarkets, restaurants, and, yes, even people. But this complicated blend has also been transformed into the unique flavors of comfort all over the world.

location

X
  • Born: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

comments

X

Pig Face: A Love Story (Greetings from Clark Air Base)

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

2014 Watercolor on paper 4 in. x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

b. 1981
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in interdisciplinary art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a lecturer at University of California, Merced and has been an instructor at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Washington, DC); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, and SomArts; the San Jose Museum of Art; Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA); California State University, Fullerton; Stanford University, Voice of Witness (Chicago, IL); and the Future Food House in Rotterdam. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and a board member at Kearny Street Workshop. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, California, and a recent Lucas Artist Program Resident at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com

For the Love/Hate of Curry

A golden, aromatic spice blend that is prized by some and reviled by others, curry powder is a polarizing substance. Over the past five years I have used it as a dye, perfume, and pigment in my art practice. But I rarely eat the bottled stuff.

What, exactly, is curry? It is a delicious dish and an inadequate word. As food historian Thy Tran once told me, it is a word that falls short because it attempts to use the language of the colonizer to describe the many foods of the colonized. The first reference to curry powder was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1961), a book to aid British housewives in the particulars of maintaining a proper home in the colonies. I began to trace my own history through an alternative spice route. Being Indian and Japanese Colombian American, we ate curry all the time in our house. Indian cooks don’t usually use curry powder--but my mother, who is Colombian-born Japanese, made the kind that came out of a box. She mixed it with chicken, carrots and potatoes to create one of my favorite meals (coincidentally, the most popular brand of curry powder happens to be my initials, “S&B” and so I took it as a sign that I was meant to work with the material). Why does Japan’s #1 dish come from a package? Japan was introduced to curry by the British who made a roux of flour and fat with the spice blend. The Indian varieties? Those were more difficult to define. My father is from a small village outside of Kolkata. I still have no idea what is and isn’t a “curry.” Neither does my family. It’s just food in sauce – but it’s so much more.

After my first installation with curry powder in 2008, I searched the phrase “smells like curry” online. I suppose I expected to find a racist joke or two and a few recipes. Instead, I found thousands of entries referring to the way Indian people smelled. The one I will always remember was a posting on Yahoo! Answers:

Q: Help, my neighbor’s house smells like curry.
A: Call the INS.

I became obsessed with this anonymous entry. For the first time I realized that race is constructed by more than what we see.

Over the next few years I sprinkled curry powder through the streets of Oakland, opened a Curry Institute (2011) at Whitman College, where visitors could chart their own Curry Cartography, and worked with perfumer Yosh Han to create a curry perfume called Gilt (2010) just because I wanted everyone to have the right to smell like curry. Eventually the spice pieces made their way onto the walls themselves.

Although my ingredients span the globe, I always source my materials from family-owned businesses. I had been purchasing ingredients from Bombay Bazaar, a hidden grocery store that had closed and re-opened in San Francisco’s wildly gentrifying Mission district. The last time I went in to say hello, the store had disappeared. Shelves, fluorescent lighting, and all. It is with the last batch of spices purchased at this shop that I created Dear Indian Grocery Store both in the bathroom of 18 Reasons in San Francisco and at the San Jose Museum of Art in November 2013. Feeling yet another loss in a city I recognize less and less, I wrote an open letter to the grocery store. This letter always accompanies the installation. As with my previous installations, the excess curry powder collected from the installation will be used to dye napkins and tablecloths for a sliding-scale community dinner. The curry powder is reserved for the art - it is rarely used in the cooking of the meal.

Most Indian cooks would never be caught with curry powder in their kitchens - it limits the complexity and variety of a dish. This powder is India concentrate. This is the myth we expect in Indian supermarkets, restaurants, and, yes, even people. But this complicated blend has also been transformed into the unique flavors of comfort all over the world.

location

X
  • Born: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

comments

X

Pig Face: A Love Story (1493)

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

2014 Watercolor on paper 6 in. x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

b. 1981
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in interdisciplinary art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a lecturer at University of California, Merced and has been an instructor at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Washington, DC); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, and SomArts; the San Jose Museum of Art; Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA); California State University, Fullerton; Stanford University, Voice of Witness (Chicago, IL); and the Future Food House in Rotterdam. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and a board member at Kearny Street Workshop. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, California, and a recent Lucas Artist Program Resident at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com

For the Love/Hate of Curry

A golden, aromatic spice blend that is prized by some and reviled by others, curry powder is a polarizing substance. Over the past five years I have used it as a dye, perfume, and pigment in my art practice. But I rarely eat the bottled stuff.

What, exactly, is curry? It is a delicious dish and an inadequate word. As food historian Thy Tran once told me, it is a word that falls short because it attempts to use the language of the colonizer to describe the many foods of the colonized. The first reference to curry powder was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1961), a book to aid British housewives in the particulars of maintaining a proper home in the colonies. I began to trace my own history through an alternative spice route. Being Indian and Japanese Colombian American, we ate curry all the time in our house. Indian cooks don’t usually use curry powder--but my mother, who is Colombian-born Japanese, made the kind that came out of a box. She mixed it with chicken, carrots and potatoes to create one of my favorite meals (coincidentally, the most popular brand of curry powder happens to be my initials, “S&B” and so I took it as a sign that I was meant to work with the material). Why does Japan’s #1 dish come from a package? Japan was introduced to curry by the British who made a roux of flour and fat with the spice blend. The Indian varieties? Those were more difficult to define. My father is from a small village outside of Kolkata. I still have no idea what is and isn’t a “curry.” Neither does my family. It’s just food in sauce – but it’s so much more.

After my first installation with curry powder in 2008, I searched the phrase “smells like curry” online. I suppose I expected to find a racist joke or two and a few recipes. Instead, I found thousands of entries referring to the way Indian people smelled. The one I will always remember was a posting on Yahoo! Answers:

Q: Help, my neighbor’s house smells like curry.
A: Call the INS.

I became obsessed with this anonymous entry. For the first time I realized that race is constructed by more than what we see.

Over the next few years I sprinkled curry powder through the streets of Oakland, opened a Curry Institute (2011) at Whitman College, where visitors could chart their own Curry Cartography, and worked with perfumer Yosh Han to create a curry perfume called Gilt (2010) just because I wanted everyone to have the right to smell like curry. Eventually the spice pieces made their way onto the walls themselves.

Although my ingredients span the globe, I always source my materials from family-owned businesses. I had been purchasing ingredients from Bombay Bazaar, a hidden grocery store that had closed and re-opened in San Francisco’s wildly gentrifying Mission district. The last time I went in to say hello, the store had disappeared. Shelves, fluorescent lighting, and all. It is with the last batch of spices purchased at this shop that I created Dear Indian Grocery Store both in the bathroom of 18 Reasons in San Francisco and at the San Jose Museum of Art in November 2013. Feeling yet another loss in a city I recognize less and less, I wrote an open letter to the grocery store. This letter always accompanies the installation. As with my previous installations, the excess curry powder collected from the installation will be used to dye napkins and tablecloths for a sliding-scale community dinner. The curry powder is reserved for the art - it is rarely used in the cooking of the meal.

Most Indian cooks would never be caught with curry powder in their kitchens - it limits the complexity and variety of a dish. This powder is India concentrate. This is the myth we expect in Indian supermarkets, restaurants, and, yes, even people. But this complicated blend has also been transformed into the unique flavors of comfort all over the world.

location

X
  • Born: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

comments

X

Pig Face: A Love Story (Francisco)

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

2014 Watercolor on paper 9 in. x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist.

contributor

X

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik

b. 1981
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in interdisciplinary art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies. She is a lecturer at University of California, Merced and has been an instructor at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (Washington, DC); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, and SomArts; the San Jose Museum of Art; Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA); California State University, Fullerton; Stanford University, Voice of Witness (Chicago, IL); and the Future Food House in Rotterdam. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and a board member at Kearny Street Workshop. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, California, and a recent Lucas Artist Program Resident at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. You can see more of her work at sitabhaumik.com

For the Love/Hate of Curry

A golden, aromatic spice blend that is prized by some and reviled by others, curry powder is a polarizing substance. Over the past five years I have used it as a dye, perfume, and pigment in my art practice. But I rarely eat the bottled stuff.

What, exactly, is curry? It is a delicious dish and an inadequate word. As food historian Thy Tran once told me, it is a word that falls short because it attempts to use the language of the colonizer to describe the many foods of the colonized. The first reference to curry powder was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1961), a book to aid British housewives in the particulars of maintaining a proper home in the colonies. I began to trace my own history through an alternative spice route. Being Indian and Japanese Colombian American, we ate curry all the time in our house. Indian cooks don’t usually use curry powder--but my mother, who is Colombian-born Japanese, made the kind that came out of a box. She mixed it with chicken, carrots and potatoes to create one of my favorite meals (coincidentally, the most popular brand of curry powder happens to be my initials, “S&B” and so I took it as a sign that I was meant to work with the material). Why does Japan’s #1 dish come from a package? Japan was introduced to curry by the British who made a roux of flour and fat with the spice blend. The Indian varieties? Those were more difficult to define. My father is from a small village outside of Kolkata. I still have no idea what is and isn’t a “curry.” Neither does my family. It’s just food in sauce – but it’s so much more.

After my first installation with curry powder in 2008, I searched the phrase “smells like curry” online. I suppose I expected to find a racist joke or two and a few recipes. Instead, I found thousands of entries referring to the way Indian people smelled. The one I will always remember was a posting on Yahoo! Answers:

Q: Help, my neighbor’s house smells like curry.
A: Call the INS.

I became obsessed with this anonymous entry. For the first time I realized that race is constructed by more than what we see.

Over the next few years I sprinkled curry powder through the streets of Oakland, opened a Curry Institute (2011) at Whitman College, where visitors could chart their own Curry Cartography, and worked with perfumer Yosh Han to create a curry perfume called Gilt (2010) just because I wanted everyone to have the right to smell like curry. Eventually the spice pieces made their way onto the walls themselves.

Although my ingredients span the globe, I always source my materials from family-owned businesses. I had been purchasing ingredients from Bombay Bazaar, a hidden grocery store that had closed and re-opened in San Francisco’s wildly gentrifying Mission district. The last time I went in to say hello, the store had disappeared. Shelves, fluorescent lighting, and all. It is with the last batch of spices purchased at this shop that I created Dear Indian Grocery Store both in the bathroom of 18 Reasons in San Francisco and at the San Jose Museum of Art in November 2013. Feeling yet another loss in a city I recognize less and less, I wrote an open letter to the grocery store. This letter always accompanies the installation. As with my previous installations, the excess curry powder collected from the installation will be used to dye napkins and tablecloths for a sliding-scale community dinner. The curry powder is reserved for the art - it is rarely used in the cooking of the meal.

Most Indian cooks would never be caught with curry powder in their kitchens - it limits the complexity and variety of a dish. This powder is India concentrate. This is the myth we expect in Indian supermarkets, restaurants, and, yes, even people. But this complicated blend has also been transformed into the unique flavors of comfort all over the world.

location

X
  • Born: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

comments

X

Confessional

Jeffrey Augustine Songco

2014 Digital print 30 in. x 12.5 in. CA+T Commissioned Work

contributor

X

Jeffrey Augustine Songco

b. 1983
image description
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  • visit website

Jeffrey Augustine Songco is a multi-media artist. He was born, baptized, and raised in New Jersey, U.S.A., to Filipino parents. He is classically trained in ballet and voice, but genetically, he is an architect. He holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute.  He has exhibited in San Francisco at Steven Wolf Fine Arts and the Asian Art Museum.  He would like to be the US representative to the 2023 Venice Biennale.  His writings have appeared in Art21 Blog, Bad At Sports, The Huffington Post, and Hyperallergic.

My obsessive consumption of superficial goods translates into the production of peculiar appropriation. There’s a lot of stuff out there to play with — things (as objects) and ideas (as language) are my materials. I'm interested in physical behavior, emotional narratives, and performed identities. I believe my artwork produces an infectious feeling of anxiety that can only be alleviated by a) the acceptance of the fluidity of meaning, 2) the impossibility of fully comprehending the absurd, and d) the inability to control your own laughter.

As the commissioned artist for the Center for Art and Thought’s exhibition Queer Sites and Sounds, I created a limited edition digital print titled Confessional. This work is the third iteration in a series of photographic prints depicting my “bag head character” juxtaposed with text from a grand narrative.

In 2012, I wrote my first screenplay titled The Host. The title refers to the protagonist – a white, affluent, suburban mom who is the beloved host on a popular home-shopping television network. The title also refers to the bread that is transformed into the body of Christ and eaten during Catholic mass. Throughout the film, the woman is negotiating her identity as a devout Catholic woman and as a mom to her recently outed college-aged son. In front of a million television viewers, she goes through her own transformation, performing a role that caters to a culturally conservative America, while knowing full well that her gay son is quietly shifting her away from those values. When I wrote the screenplay, I was just a writer with a dream, but I was also an artist with a camera. I created the triptych Hosanna as a way to visually manifest the text of The Host. In Hosanna, quotations from The Host flank the solitary white figure that is performing the role of the host. “Hosanna” is a biblical word that is shouted to express joy and adoration – an old-timer word for “OMG” or a phrase a woman might say when she sees sparkling jewelry.

By dressing in all white and placing a bag on my head, I enact a queer performance of the protagonist – a beautiful and empowered heterosexual white woman with personal anxiety that looms around her as she fulfills her own performance of self. This same concept can be used with the next iteration in the series, the diptych God Bless (Miss) America. I didn’t write a screenplay, but I’ve always been transfixed by pageantry – count me in as part of the demographic obsessed with TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras who can also tell the difference between the Miss America and Miss USA pageants. The narrative of beauty pageants is so common in American popular culture that it has become a cliché, so I chose to use a clichéd question as the text within the artwork. In front of millions of television viewers, a pageant contestant must answer a seemingly bleak question with something that caters to the pageant judges and, ultimately, the identity of the nation.

I’m currently in the process of writing a screenplay titled The Cast, a dramatic film that focuses on a cast member of a reality television show about five affluent white married women living in San Francisco. Queer Sites and Sounds is the perfect site to visually translate the text of The Cast like I had done with The Host. My new artwork is titled Confessional, which refers to the idea of the Catholic Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Sharing and confessing sins to a priest in a small room allows the sinner to be absolved from mortal sins and avoid Hell. Decades ago, the word “confessional” was introduced to reality television when subjects of the show were taken aside from the main activity into a small room, and asked to share and confess how they felt about the events that just occurred. Subjects broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the camera to share all their feelings and provide a proper narrative to the plot. The confessional has aesthetically evolved into what it is today, with the confessional interview being highly stylized and elaborately produced. Bravo Television’s The Real Housewives series provides fantastic examples of stylized confessionals, with characters confessing in front of luxurious backgrounds.

I’ve always had an interest in – some would say obsession with – white people. While I shine the spotlight on an American ideal, I don’t deny the multiple references to a darker side of white America: Christian extremism, political nationalism, military torture, and white supremacy. In Confessional, I chose to display a quotation that revealed a dramatic side of the reality show – adultery. This kind of saturated American identity is the root of my bag head character, which ultimately plays the role of an anonymous white person subject to the projections of any given story.

location

X
  • Born: New Jersey, USA
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

comments

X

Deception Pass

Kat Larson

2013 Video & performance art Variable dimensions CA+T Commissioned Work

contributor

X

Kat Larson

b. 1979

Kat Larson is a Seattle-based cross-disciplinary artist. Her art practice includes printmaking, painting, small scale sculpture, performance and video. She is currently focusing on video and performative installations and exploring her body as a conduit for spiritual connections, specifically with her female ancestors whom she has tagged “BloodMuthas.” Outside of video and performance, she continues to work with striking found objects, clay, encaustics, and organic materials such as dead bees and dirt.

Photograph by Lindsay Borden.

My name is Kat Larson, and I am bi-racial woman practicing fine art in the Pacific Northwest. My current artistic focus is exploring the intersections of new media/digital technologies and performance art. Fueling my practice are the themes of identity and spirituality and investigations of collective consciousness. At the core of my artistic expressions is a reverence for human connectivities and transformations.

I envision the art that I produce affecting positively those who come into contact with my work, as it invites people to travel into the often dark corners of human experience that people dare travel to on their own. However unknown and frightening these spaces are, my work reaches out to viewers—asking them for their trust—and assuages their anxiety through meaningful interactions with questions, ideas, and concepts that are embedded in my work. My audience can feel the strength of my feminine powers. Though sometimes very raw in form and expressiveness, my work nonetheless provokes people to ask important questions about matriarchy, ancestry, sexuality, and life and death. These are topics that connect us as individuals and as part of the many communities in which we find ourselves. When we publicly engage in this type of discourse, we not only realize our connectivity but also transformative strategies for the betterment of humanity. In short, my work initiates critical and timely conversations about community.

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  • Born: Seattle, WA, USA
  • Based: Seattle, WA, USA

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