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Queer Art: Past and Present: Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects

As part of the Found in Translation series funded by the PA Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities, Fleisher Art Memorial and William Way are proud to present Queer Art: Past and Present, a series of lectures exploring Queer art histories and contemporary practices and aesthetics through the voices of five renowned art historians and artists. The lecture series will take place on Zoom and live Spanish interpretation will be provided.  

Found in Translation is a free series of art history and critical theory workshops organized by Fleisher in partnership with several cultural institutions throughout Philadelphia. The series specifically focuses on centering BIPOC and Queer voices, reflecting a more inclusive view of the communities we work with. Found in Translation, aligned with Fleisher’s mission of making art more accessible through our education and community programs, brings these valuable perspectives to a broader public. 

Chris E. Vargas, Executive Director and Founder of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory, will present on the conceptual museum which asks audiences to think critically about what a visual history of transgender life could and should look like. In this talk, Chris will focus on the exhibition series and forthcoming book, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, a material exploration of objects that hold significance in narrating the history of transgender communities.  

A video maker and interdisciplinary artist based in Bellingham, WA and Los Angeles, CA, Chris E. Vargas earned his MFA from the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley in 2011. His work deploys humor and performance to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical and institutional memory and popular culture. He is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a critical and conceptual arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. In 2016, he received a Creative Capital award in the Emerging Field category and in 2020, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow.  

About William Way 

William Way seeks to engage and support the diverse LGBTQIA+ communities in the greater Philadelphia area through arts & culture, empowerment, and community connections. They want all LGBTQIA+ people to feel safe, connected, and empowered, striving to be a community center whose staff, management, and board reflect the vibrant and richly diverse communities they serve. In these challenging times, the William Way LGBT Community Center, and what it represents, has evolved to meet the needs of the diverse people it serves 365 days a year. Learn more at www.waygay.org. 

Register via Eventbrite.

Image: Ana Teresa Fernandez, Ice Queen, 2011, digital still from 45-minute performance. Image courtesy of Alpesh Kantilal Patel.