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Make Me Feel Mighty Real: Drag/Tech and the Queer Avatar at Honor Fraser March 3-May 27, 2023 (LA, USA)

Honor Fraser Gallery in LA will present “Make Me Feel Mighty Real: Drag/Tech and the Queer Avatar”, a group exhibition surveying the conceptual and aesthetic proliferation of avatars in queer creative practices and the pervasive technological fantasies they have engendered. Curated by Jamison Edgar and Scott Ewalt, the exhibition features over 40 artists and chronicles seven decades of experimentation in photography, painting, film, performance, and animation to champion the tools and techniques that queer artists have pioneered to build community, cruise utopia, and enact unruly hybridity online and IRL. The exhibition is on view from March 03 through May 27. An opening reception will be held on March 03 from 6pm to 8pm.

The exhibition title borrows lyrics from Sylvester’s infamous 1978 disco anthem “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” which celebrates uninhibited queer desire and its capacity to alter the mind, reconfigure the body, and spawn a new reality into existence. Make Me Feel Mighty Real serves as the song’s most recent refrain, celebrating a lineage of artists who have forged their mixed realities against the backdrop of a technological renaissance.

The exhibition assembles a constellation of visual artists, avant-garde performers, nightlife celebrities, grassroots archivists, DIY publishers, and experimental technologists to illustrate the vital role technology has played in shaping the political power of Drag. The breadth of artistic practices assembled highlights the range of creative play that has emerged in between the term’s contrasting definitions. Each artwork is a fabulous invocation for all of us to dream beyond the boundaries of gender, sex, biology, and human subjectivity.

Make Me Feel Mighty Real transforms Honor Fraser into a living archive of glamor, grit, glitch, and gore. Canonical queer artists, filmmakers, and performers are woven into a constellation of emerging and established contemporaries. The influence of queer collectives, like the Los Angeles-based House of Avalon, on mainstream fashion, entertainment, and social media are juxtaposed with the monstrous excess of “post-internet” identities seen in the work of Zach Blas, Dynasty Handbag, Big Art Group, Ryan Trecartin, and Theo Triantafyllidis.

To honor and underscore the models of solidarity and stewardship that arise within queer communities and the spaces they cultivate, Make Me Feel Mighty Real will be augmented with a slate of public programming. This multidimensional curation serves to amplify the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of all queer people at the very moment when politicians and vigilantes are determined to suppress their existence.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the rituals and traditions of Drag performance while celebrating a lineage of artists who have forged their own mixed realities against the backdrop of a technological renaissance. Join us for the opening reception on March 03 from 6 pm to 8 pm and explore the exhibition from March 03 through May 27. Visit our website for more information on programming events.

Exhibited Artists: Enrique Agudo, Steve Arnold, Josef Astor, Charles AtlasZach BlasBig Art Group (Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson,) Richard Bernstein, Caitlin Cherry, Aaron Cobbett, The Cockettes, Max Colby, Caleb Craig, Ronnie Cutrone, Eleanor Davis, Divine, Jake Elwes, Scott Ewalt, Connie Fleming, Dynasty Handbag, Hilary Harp, Wesleigh Gates, Greg Gorman, Bob Gruen, House of Avalon (Symone, Gigi Good, Hunter Crenshaw, Caleb Feeney, Grant Vanderbilt, Marko Monroe,) Huntrezz, JanosGreer Lankton, Marcus Leatherdale, Christopher Makos, Mundo Meza, Milton Miron, Perfidia, Tom Rubnitz, Jacolby Satterwhite, Devan Shimoyama, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Suzie Silzer, Sylvester, TABBOO!, Ryan TrecartinTheo TriantafyllidisAntigoni Tsagkaropoulou, Jemima Wyman, Andy Warhol, Angela WashkoRobert Yang.

Photo: Studio Visit, 2018, Theo Triantafyllidis, Mixed Reality Installation

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Caden Manson is founder of Big Art Group (1999 to present) and Curator of (2010 to present) ABOUT BIG ART GROUP: Big Art Group is a New York City performance company founded in 1999. The company uses the language of media and blended states of performance in a unique form to build culturally transgressive and challenging new works. Since its inception, it has toured nationally and internationally and produced critically acclaimed works including the ‘Real Time Film’ trilogy Shelf Life, Flicker, House of No More, SOS; and its reality-based theatre series The People. He is co-creator, director, video designer and scenographer on all 11 Big Art Group productions that have toured to over 60 cities thoughout North American, Asia and Europe for the past 17 years Manson has also shown video ininstallation in Austria, France, USA and Germany; performed his solo work,PAIN KILLER, in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; and taught workshops and masters courses in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Turin, New York, Toulouse, Montreal, San Francisco, and Bern. His ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, Theatre Garonne, Wexner Center for The Arts, and The Kitchen NYC. He is a recipient of the 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellowship, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and received a 2009 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He lives in New York City and outside Philadelphia where he maintains his studio. ABOUT CONTEMPORARY PERFORMANCE NETWORK The Contemporary Performance Network is an online community and blog with a growing roster of artists, scholars and presentering members in the field of performance. Manson founded the community in July of 2010 and today it has grown to over 12000 members and fans world wide. The term Contemporary Performance is used to describe hybrid performance works and artists that travel between the fields of Experimental Theatre, Dance, Video Art, Visual Art, Music Composition and Performance Art without adhering to one specific field's practice.

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