“Bring Your Own Body”

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Titled after an unpublished manuscript by intersex activist Lynn Harris, this group show presents work by self-identified transgender artists alongside archival materials, complicating narratives often assigned to gender-nonconforming people. Publications from the University of Victoria Transgender Archives and photographs from the Kinsey Institute dating as early as 1930—such as a photo of Christine Jorgensen, one of the first people widely known for undergoing sex reassignment surgery—reveal disturbingly clinical conceptions of trans bodies. Curators Jeanne Vaccaro and Stamatina Gregory selected pieces that expand the often simplified and invasive understandings of trans people’s identities. Standout works include a nude doll by Greer Lankton, its chest cruelly cut open to evoke physical and emotional violence, and nostalgic watercolors by Justin Vivian Bond that search for childhood origins of the artist’s trans identity. The diverse artists and works represented here are intimately bound up in the diffusion of private and public experience. 

 

Pictured: William Dellenback: Christine Jorgensen Visiting the Institute for Sex Research, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1953. Courtesy Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington.