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Gordon Hall : 15 Young LGBTQ Artists Driving Contemporary Art Forward

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Gordon Hall
B. 1983, Boston, Massachusetts. Lives and works in New York City.
Can you talk about your connection with the history of Minimalism, and how you do or do not address it in your practice?
I’ve spent a lot of time reading and looking, and Minimalism isn’t actually a cohesive historical thing. Though there might be formal similarities, the artists are all quite different from each other and had different ways of understanding what they were doing, which are often quite contradictory. My favorite “Minimalists” are the ones who have been less remembered— Anne TruittFred SandbackBeverly BuchananFranz Erhard WaltherScott BurtonRichard ArtschwagerJohn McCracken. All of them were utterly different from each other.
To whatever degree I make sculpture that is formally restrained, quiet, precise, slow, I think it is for two reasons: I think that these can be used as strategies of refusal of representation and auto-biographical narrative (as many of these artists I just mentioned used them). And second, I yearn for focused spaces of co-presence with objects and bodies in which I am not as overwhelmed as I am in the regular world, so that I can look and feel my way around.

Can you speak about how your work critiques, or responds to representation?

Representation of non-normative bodies and identities within artworks and institutions is incredibly important, but I think that’s just the beginning of what we need to be thinking about. As a transgender artist, I am thinking more about the ways that we can refuse these forms of naming, taxonomizing, and classifying bodies. I look to art—both making it and viewing it—as a method for relearning how to perceive bodies in ways that are more expansive, unstable, and consensual.
I make objects and performances that aim to trouble our desire to name and to know “what” things are. I am especially wary of the ways institutions position artists with “differences” in hyper-visible situations that often involve performing with our bodies, essentially serving as evidence of our inclusion, as a way of making up for all the ways these institutions have and continue to fail to actually support these artists’ careers over the long-term. I do my best not to participate in curatorial contexts that are singularly concerned with representation without engaging the underlying questions about practices of seeing and the politics of support.

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