Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art

MOTHA is dedicated to moving the hirstory and art of transgender people to the center of public life. The preeminent institution of its kind, the museum insists on an expansive and unstable definition of transgender, one that is able to encompass all trans and gender non-conformed art and artists.
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Executive Director, Chris E. Vargas will be presenting the exciting plans for MOTHA’s past, present, and future in “Trans Hirstory in the Making" at the SPENW (Society for Photographic Education Northwest) conference.

Saturday, October 11th, 10am

Western Washington University | Bellingham, WA

Miller Hall 113

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The MOTHA Resident Artist Program is pleased to announce its inaugural resident artist: Tuesday Smillie.

Tuesday Smillie is a visual artist, living and working in Brooklyn NY. Utilizing watercolor, collage and textiles Smillie engages questions such as the imprint of the past on the present, and the binary of inclusion / exclusion. Through these questions Smillie’s work leaves a visual record of transgender-feminist politics.

Born in Boston Massachusetts, Smillie moved to Portland Oregon in 2001 where she was schooled in radical queer politics and received her BFA from Oregon College of Art & Craft with a concentration in Book Arts in 2007. Smillie moved to Brooklyn NY later that year. Her work has shown across the United States and Canada, including at the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and Judson Church New York, NY.tuesdaysmillie.com

The MOTHA Resident Artist Program is the first of its kind in the world! This unique residency seeks to support the work of contemporary trans artists in the most inclusive and hands-off way possible. The program was developed out of a need for a convenient residency, one that takes into account the hectic life of the struggling, yet dedicated, trans artist and makes no demands or promises on their time. The MOTHA Resident Artist Program, like the museum itself, is an amorphous entity: it offers no physical structure to its resident artists. Therefore, the current resident artist is free to work wherever and whenever their unique practice dictates. In exchange for this flexibility, artists are asked to make no demands on MOTHA, lest they taint and disrupt their practice with the tedious day-to-day operations of the arts and hirstory institution.

The MOTHA Resident Artist Program recognizes that the resident artist themself lends as much if not more legitimacy to the institution than the institution lends to the artist. Therefore the artist is encouraged but not required to produce work or report on their practice during the term of the residency. It is enough that they are making work. MOTHA will take their word for it. The length of the residency is determined by the resident.

Selection for this residency program was made by its Executive Director, Chris E. Vargas. The MOTHA Resident Artist Program itself is a collaboration with artist Tuesday Smillie.

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Transsexual Menace presented by Dirty Looks and MOTHA
Directed by Rosa Von Praunheim
(1996, 75 min, video)

Thursday, June 19 at 9:30pm

UnionDocs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

presented as part of the Northside Festival

"Transexual Menace takes its title from the name of “the most exciting political action group in the USA”—transgendered people who are defining themselves, demanding their legal rights, and fighting for medical care and against job discrimination. Considered by von Praunheim to be the “most fascinating [project] in my long life as a filmmaker,” Transexual Menace is a sensitive and carefully crafted portrait that deals with issues openly and honestly. “I was able to earn the trust of many who are often reluctant to be interviewed. Courageous people talked to me, who transitioned in such problematic professions as law enforcement and firefighting.” Transexual Menace gives viewers remarkable insight into the home and work lives of transsexuals from many cultures and countries, including female-to-male transsexuals and those with families and children.” –Video Data Bank

The event will be followed by a conversation with trans luminaries Justin Vivian Bond and Chris E. Vargas (director, Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art – MOTHA)

BUY TICKETS HERE

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* Event photos

* Tranny Rage: The Politics of Mythologizing Transness by Nicki Green

* Rosalyne Blumenstein (interview) by Monika Kowalska

2013 Art Awards trophies

It is a great honor to present the awardees of the first annual 2013 MOTHA Art Awards! With just under 2700 votes and over 400 nominees throughout all categories, the individuals and the projects listed below have been chosen to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the transgender cultural landscape, as it currently exists at this very specific time (2013ish) and place (North America, mostly).

AWARDEES *

Artists of the Year

Laverne Cox | Caldwell Linker | Amos Mac

Performers of the Year

Ivan Coyote | Red Durkin

Stage Productions of the Year

F.A.G.G.O.T.S. the musical | The Fully Functional Cabaret

Transition Vlogs of the Year

Red Durkin | We Happy Trans

Writers of the Year, Literary

Imogen Binnie | Kate Bornstein | Ivan Coyote

Writers of the Year, Critical

Janet Mock | Dean Spade

Artist Books/Publications of the Year

Nevada by Imogen Binnie | Original Plumbing magazine

Musicians of the Year

Big Freedia | KOKUMO | Rae Spoon

Hirstorians of the Year

Susan Stryker | Transgriot.blogspot.com

Archives of the Year

Center for Sex and Culture | Trans Oral History Project

Solo Exhibitions of the Year

“Body of Work” Heather Cassils | "HAG–small, contemporary, haggard" Vaginal Davis

Group Exhibitions of the Year

"Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth" curated by Alexis Heller | "Twat/fest" - Trans Women’s Arts Toronto Festival

Art Film/Video of the Year

MAJOR! | She Gone Rogue | Wildness

New Upcoming Artists of the Year

Hannah Barrett | Erika Bijeljic | Imogen Binnie | KOKUMO | Morgan M. Page

Unrecognized Artists of the Year, Hermit

Malic Amalya | Elliott DeLine | Raphaële Frigon | Nicki Green | Dalice Malice | H. Melt | Mirha-Soleil Ross | Thu Ha Vu | Tobaron Waxman | Quito Ziegler

Unrecognized Artists of the Year, Too Busy Surviving

Ben McCoy | Chelsea Manning | Morgan Sea

THE NOMINATION & VOTING PROCESS The award nomination period, which took place across September and October 2013, and the voting period, which occurred over the entire month of November 2013, were open to all who desired to participate. Voters were asked to make their choices based on their own thoughtful and thorough research of every single nominee in each category, and not to be motivated by nepotism or coercion. Ultimately, winners were selected because of their merit, because of their own enthusiastic online campaigning, because they were the most recognizable name on the list, or a combination of all of the above. The MOTHA Awards seek to highlight transgender contributions to our current cultural landscape while also highlighting the limitations inherent in such a system of competition, exclusion, tokenism, and positive-image pandering.

LETTER OF RECkoning In gratitude for participation the Executive Director of MOTHA has written a blank customizable letter of recommendation for use by all nominees and awardees. It is available HERE.

AN ARCHIVE OF NOMINEES Nominees are invited to email MOTHA (sfmotha@gmail.com) with links to their online portfolios or personal web sites. That list will be compiled and made public, for posterity, here on the MOTHA web site.

* Awardees receive nothing but the title, and must determine for themselves if and to what extent it signifies recognition of the merit of their work. Due to the close number of votes in most instances, no distinction has been made between winners and finalists.

LINK TO PRESS RELEASE

At Visual AIDS blog 11/12/13:

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VOTING GUIDELINES
Please decide on one (1) outstanding candidate in each award category who you believe deserves recognition above all others. Your choice should be based on your own thoughtful and thorough research of every single nominee in each category, and not motivated by nepotism or coercion. Please vote only ONCE (honor system). The names of candidates listed were submitted during the nomination phase of the awards. There is a write-in portion for others not listed. The focus should be on recent work, created from September 2012 to the present. Voting closes 11:59pm (PST) November 30th, 2013.

ABOUT
The MOTHA Art Awards are modeled after high-profile, industry- and identity-specific prizes such as the Lambda Literary and the GLAAD Awards, which celebrate a few achievements of the LGBT creative community and their mainstream media representations, respectively. The MOTHA Awards are also inspired by the performance-based artwork the Rob Pruitt Art Awards (theartawards2013.com). The MOTHA Awards highlight transgender contributions to our current cultural landscape while also highlighting the limitations inherent in such a system of competition, exclusion, tokenism, and positive-image pandering. Nominations and voting are open to everyone.

The winners of the 2013 MOTHA Art Awards will be posted to the MOTHA website (sfmotha.org) after December 1, 2013. Winners will receive nothing but the winning title. Winners must determine for themselves if the title signifies recognition of the merit of their work.

CONTINUE HERE TO VOTE

2013 MOTHA Art Awards

Click here: NOMINATION FORM

Please join MOTHA–Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art’s founder and Executive Director, Chris E. Vargas in introducing this preeminent museum of its kind. The presentation, which takes the form of a multimedia slide show, will illustrate the projected plans for the museum, highlight historical and contemporary trans artistic production, and contextualize the project as part of a larger transgender movement for justice and liberation.

Location: Carpenter Library Room B21
Monday, October 28, 2013
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

MOTHA proposes to call a cohesive visual history of transgender culture into existence. In doing so, it asks us to think critically about what transgender visual history would look like, how it should be organized, and if it is even possible to compile such a history around an identity category that is still relatively new and contested. In addition to exploring transgender and queer identities, MOTHA critically interrogates contemporary arts institutionalization and developments within museum practices, with an eye to the transgender artist’s relationship to them. MOTHA is an imaginary museum. While it is under construction, it takes the form of temporary autonomous events, including performances, exhibitions, panel discussions, public programs, membership openings, ribbon cuttings, and other occasions that envision the existence of a legitimate and legitimizing arts and history institution.

Bio: Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist currently based in central New York, whose thematic interests include queer radicalism, transgender hirstory, and imperfect role models. He earned his MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. From 2008-2013, he made, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2012). Vargas is also the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, an arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape.

Bryn Mawr flyer

The MOTHA Art Awards are modeled after high-profile, industry- and identity-specific prizes such as the Lambda Literary and the GLAAD Awards, which celebrate a few achievements of the LGBT creative community and their mainstream media representations. The MOTHA Awards highlight transgender contributions to our current cultural landscape while also highlighting the limitations inherent in such a system of competition, exclusion, tokenism, and positive-image pandering. Nominations and voting are open to everyone.
* The MOTHA Art Awards are also inspired by the performance-based artwork, the Rob Pruitt Art Awards (theartawards2013.com).

NOMINATIONS
Please nominate outstanding transgender, gender queer, and gender non-conforming artists, performers, hirstorians, productions, exhibitions, etc.—ones that you believe deserve recognition above all others. The focus should be on recent work, created from September 2012 to the present.

Come back on November 1, 2013, to vote for the nominees.

The winners of the 2013 MOTHA Art Awards will be posted to the MOTHA website on December 1, 2013. Winners will receive nothing but the winning title.

CONTINUE HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS

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The MOTHA–Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art promotional broadside introduces the imminently eminent arts & hirstory institution. The collage features 280+ individuals: hiroes & trancestors; artists & activists; the famous & the infamous; the real & the fictional; the living & the passed; those who self-identify as trans & those who predate the category altogether. Buy one and collage yourself into the mix today!

The black & white newsprint poster is 33” x 28”. The lavender poster key is 11 x 17”.

$10 + $3 for shipping. Buy 3 and get one FREE!

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Justine Vivian Bond checking out the MOTHA promo broadside. Check back in late August for ordering details.

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Join us for a reception and panel discussion accompanying the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art’s (MOTHA) film-screening series, Necessary Disguise: The Temporary Transvestite Film. Film critics, art historians, and queer academics will present on favorite and important films from the series, which range from Queen Christina to White Chicks. The panel will investigate the radical, reactionary, and recuperable aspects of this enduring Hollywood sub-genre. Co-presented by YBCA and Art Practical.

Panelists: Irene Gustafson, Morty Diamond, Annie Danger, Ralowe T. Ampu

Moderator: Matt Sussman

June 23rd, 4pm - 7pm

Reception: 4-5:30pm, Panel 5:30-7pm

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Screening Room
701 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

FREE

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Matt Sussman is an Oakland-based writer and Associate Editor of Art Practical. In addition to Art Practical, Matt’s writing has also appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Art in America, The Wire, Flavorpill and KQED Arts. By day, he works at the Bay Area Video Coalition and by night, he sometimes stalks local drag stages as the glamorous Dirty Hairy. His favorite temporary transvestite is a toss-up between Orlando and Norman Bates.

Irene Gustafson is a bay area video maker and scholar. Her writing has appeared in The Journal of Visual Culture, Camera Obscura, The Moving Image and others. Her film/video work has screened nationally and internationally.

Morty Diamond is a transsexual artist working in the mediums of performance, video and the written word. Morty’s most famous performance, My Year In Pink, had him wearing head to toe pink for all of 2005. Including his shoes and underwear.
He has been interviewing trans/gender variant artists and writers on his blog, Bodies Of Work Magazine. He has also published two anthologies on trans lives: From the Inside Out (Manic D Press) and Trans/Love (Manic D Press) and is planning a new book about representations of trans people in art and media. Please visit him on the web at www.mortydiamond.com and www.bodiesofworkmag.com

Annie Danger is a dirty, dirty trick. She is a proud, radical, trans woman who’ll slide in under your radar with humor, camp, polish, and deep weirdness to show you depths of earnesty you never thought you could handle. She is wholly committed to political art that actually works, leaving its audience thrilled, expanded, and inspired. Her theatrical works include The Fully Functional Cabaret, The Great Church of the Holy Fuck, and It’s That Easy! With Terry VanWeen! and have been shown internationally throughout the US and Canada. She has performed with Sister Spit, The Fresh Meat Festival, and in innumerable venues and visages over her 14 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently in collaboration with Keith Hennessy on Trojan X, a public discussion/intervention in the current discourse on gentrification and displacement. She is also producing a text of revolutionary etiquette, due out summer 2014.

Patricia Maloney is a curator and writer living and working in Berkeley. In addition to her role as Director for Art Practical, she works with the alternative exhibition space Ampersand International Arts, is a contributing writer to Artforum.com, and a frequent commentator on the weekly contemporary art podcast Bad at Sports. She holds her MA in theory and history of contemporary art from the San Francisco Art Institute. http://www.artpractical.com/
current/commencement/

…more bios on the way!

Art Practical

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You are cordially invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural celebration for MOTHA—Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art. MOTHA aims to move the hirstory and art of trans and gender non-conformed people to the center of public life. The museum is committed to developing a robust exhibition and programming schedule that will enrich the transgender mythos, both by exhibiting works by living artists and by honoring the hiroes and transcestors who have come before. Pending the construction of MOTHA, the museum will function as a series of autonomous off-site experiences around the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the world.

Please join Founder and Executive Director Chris E. Vargas in the momentous public launch and welcoming festivities for this new institution.

Performers:
Gina LaDivina
Honey Mahogany
Joy Fritz
LOVEWARZ

DJ Lil’ Sumo


June 21st, 6pm - 9pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Grand Lobby
701 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

RSVP on Facebook

FREE

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