There Again, the Disappearance
featuring works by Maria Gaspar, Vaughan Larsen, and Valaria Tatera.
With curatorial assistance by Molly Hassler.
On view from May 9 - June 12
About the artists:
Disappearance Suit (Series)
Disappearance Suits is an ongoing series that examines marginalized identities in contemporary American culture and beyond. As a first-generation Mexican American from an immigrant family, I am interested in understanding the relationship between the politicized body and rural, remote, or romantic landscapes. I create disappearance suits for a specific location/history/context then through a series of performative gestures, I contend with what’s there and what’s not there. In return, my body disappears and reappears.
My art practice negotiates visibility, belonging, and the politics of location. Using installation, sculpture, performance, sound, and participatory actions, I examine historical narratives and spatial codes, both individually and collectively. By challenging understandings of geography and place, I work to mediate, subvert, and uproot the familiar or unnoticed to provoke new powerful narratives.
The color brown is persistent in my work. It acts as signifier of isolation, displacement, and dis-belonging, relative to my family’s immigrant experience from Mexico to the United States. Growing up in Chicago, I remember public activist murals and street art concealed in brown paint by the city’s “graffiti blaster” program. The color brown came to embody both occupation and erasure. As a result, my art practice takes on public sites that are simultaneously visible and invisible, investigating them through both perceptual and political lenses.
In my large-scale community-based projects, the durational, long-term, and collective are important elements. These projects require me to spend significant time in a specific place, and allow me to cultivate tender relationships within a community. Focusing on the area surrounding the Cook County Jail, the "96 Acres Project" is a series of community-engaged, site-responsive art projects involving stakeholders’ ideas about transformative justice issues, and exploring the impact of incarceration on Black and Latino communities. In addition to growing up in proximity to the jail, it’s brutality deeply impacted me on my first visit as part of my elementary school's "scared straight" program. Since being founded in 2012, the “96 Acres Project” has mobilized and engaged many contributors including other artists, educators, youth, as well as the formerly incarcerated.
As an artist examining the social anatomy of site and location, I value the ways art speaks to the politicized body and its experience of multiple boundaries and topographies. I also value the ability of art to address how histories, both public and private, inform our experience of place and mobility (or immobility). Issues of proximity reveal issues of boundaries. Through interdisciplinary and interrogative approaches, my work manifests the crises within those divisions. Redefining the spatial imaginary is therefore an act of appearing and disappearing, of the immediacy of praxis, and the viability of poetics.
Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary artist negotiating the politics of location through installation, sculpture, sound, and performance. Gaspar’s work addresses issues of spatial justice in order to amplify, mobilize, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her work spans formats and durations, including sound performances at a military site in New Haven ("Sounds for Liberation"); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project, Chicago); appropriations of museum archives ("Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter"); and audio-video works, documenting a jail located in her childhood neighborhood ("On the Border of What is Formless and Monstrous").
Gaspar has exhibited at venues including the MCA, Chicago, IL; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY; Artspace, New Haven, CT; African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; amongst many others. Gaspar is the recipient of an Imagining Justice Art Grant, a Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, an Art Matters Grant, a Creative Capital Award, a Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, a Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art, and a Chamberlain Award for Social Practice at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Gaspar was named Chicagoan of the Year in the Arts in 2014 by art critic and historian, Lori Waxman. She is an Assistant Professor at the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
In the self-portraits that comprise my body of work Rites, I reenact ceremonies from hetero-normative, cis-gendered culture. These photographs are direct parodies of experiences my family members lived through, but also contain altered details that are more aligned with my queer identity and experience. By over-emphasizing the already performative nature of these events, my work provides the opportunity to participate in celebrations, ceremonies, and rites of passage that are historically not as accessible to me as a queer-identifying person. Through these performances, my work questions the societal expectations and roles played by those engaged with these age-old rituals, while showing the viewer the perspective of not feeling as welcomed to participate in life milestones.
Vaughan Larsen is a fine artist in Milwaukee currently studying in the undergraduate photography program at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with an anticipated graduation date of May of 2019. His work addresses the concepts of identity, relationships, and the human connection. Exhibited internationally, he has been awarded the 2017-2018 Joy of Giving Fellowship from Imagining America/ White House Millennium Council, as well as the 2019 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging from the Society for Photographic Education.
This is an ongoing installation that currently has 200 red Ribbons stamped with the word Justice. This piece was created to honor the memories of Indigenous Women and Girls that go missing or are murdered every year. It is a crisis that is under-reported. As many as 300 Indigenous women go missing or are killed under suspicious circumstances every year in Canada and the U.S. The National Crime Information Database reports there were 5,712 known incidents of missing and murdered Indigenous women as of 2016. The exact number is unknown due to the confusion of jurisdictional reporting responsibility, which can include tribal, state, federal, or county agencies.
Mashkiiziibii Bad River water
Gete Gititaaning Garden Land soil from reservation
In Odanah, WI on January 5, 2017 my Tribe, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Council, passed a formal resolution Wednesday evening, January 4th, 2017 that established the Tribes decision not to renew its interests in the grant of easement for rights-of-way of Enbridge’s Energy Line 5 crude oil pipeline through the Bad River Reservation. Furthermore, it calls for the decommissioning, and removal of the pipeline from all Bad River lands and watershed.
Line 5 transports up to 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light crude oil. The current line is in disrepair.
Rise is a tribute to the memory of all the Indigenous people who chose to end the struggle with historical trauma. The trauma is a direct result of the United States Government policies of genocide.
We will no longer be invisible. We will no longer be silent.
In Native American communities, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among Native youth. Among young adults ages 18 to 24, Native Americans have higher rates of suicide than any other ethnicity, and a higher rate of suicide than the general population in the United States.
A new report, published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, concludes suicide is at a Crisis Level in Native American communities.
Valaria Tatera is a ceramicist and sculptor whose work investigates the intersection of ethnicity, gender, commerce, and the environment. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Valaria explores self-identity and contemporary Native American issues such as the environment, sovereignty and the cost of assimilation. She earned an MFA in 3-D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This exhibition was made possible through funding from a Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Mary L. Nohl Grant