Artist Lecture Response – Juliana Huxtable
Juliana Huxtable is an artist/performer whose work has been exhibited in MoMA, The New Museum, and Artists Space. Her multimedia/multi-disciplinary work focuses on the modern culture of the internet, the body, words, history, and music. Juliana dives deep into each of these major topics and find relatable or conflicting aspects and weave them into her incredible work.
In her lecture, Juliana started by talking about her recent focus on how the internet and religion grew close by allowing minorities, like African Americans to code and express their religious beliefs. Linking her Southern Black Baptist influences with the modern cultural production with coding and text to show her, and many other African American’s experiences with religion.
Then she went on to talk about her experiences in art school and her frustration because her idea of creating art based on her identity and beliefs contradicted with the extremely business orientated mindset of the art school. This idea is particularly interesting to me as she talks about entitled students and stubborn professors command her to forget about her identity and move on. I share her belief that art is always about identity, about politics, history, and personal background. Eliminating these aspects and reducing art to pure beauty for business in the modern age is out of touch and out of time. (Personally, I think she would be so much more comfortable if she went to study at DMA).
Her idea of expressing her identity and the conflicts she faced is evident throughout her works. She showed her project revolving around the idea of feminine fashion. She went on to explain how the idea to dress feminine is really a militant approach to objectify women and fix them into their stereotypical gender role. She develops this idea into the larger context of minorities, and the LGBTQ community particularly in response to today’s political climate in the US. She asks a very important question, what is political aesthetics? Because under today’s atmosphere of rising alt-right movements, it is important for minorities, and for the liberals to express themselves clearly and with power.
Her process of creating artwork is highly inspirational, especially for a Desma student. Because she does extensive research on the history of the chose topic, for example, racism and the rise of fascism throughout history, and incorporates pieces of history into modern context and expression creating a true mixture of history and pop culture/internet culture that is visually intriguing and challenging, while making powerful political statements.