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Petite Mort

Carlos Motta in collaboration with Joshua Lubin-Levy
Petite Mort: Recollections of a Queer Public

Book Project and Performances:
September 17 – 25, 2011

Book launch & performance: September 17, 2011
Performance series: September 18, 23, and 24 & 25, 2011


Forever & Today, Inc. presents Petite Mort: Recollections of a Queer Public, 2011, a collaborative project by Carlos Motta and Joshua Lubin-Levy, including a book and a related series of performances, all taking place in and around Forever & Today, Inc.'s Lower East Side/Chinatown storefront, serving as a gathering place and site for activity from September 17-25, 2011.

Motta and Lubin-Levy's book, Petite Mort: Recollections of a Queer Public, on view and available at Forever & Today, Inc., assembles drawings from memory of spaces in New York City where a public sexual encounter occurred, and presents contributions from an intergenerational group of over 60 gay men.

Conceived as an atlas of queer affection, Petite Mort proposes a subjective blueprint of the city, one that values not simply the space "as is," but how it has been performed and engaged, highlighting the fundamental connection between public space and queer life.

The collected drawings, depicting sites extending from a residential rooftop to The Rambles in Central Park, remind us that public sex is not exclusively about a personal pursuit of pleasure—they also contain the seeds of historical social and political action that have brought together communities of gay men.

Petite Mort asks questions challenging us to expand our vision for queer politics: What if our politics were rebuilt around a broader notion of intimacy rather than individuality? Can we foster, rather than police, the trust and affection inherent to desire and pleasure? Should equality be about difference, rather than assimilation?

The performance series includes: Sketchy Walk by Juan Betancurth and Todd Shalom, a self-guided late-night cruising walk in the Lower East Side/Chinatown; Last Call by J. Morrison, interactive performances lasting for the duration of one song; and TENS by Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, participatory performances exploring how language and electricity operate in the body.

Printed in an edition of 500, proceeds from the Petite Mort book benefit Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ).

Drawings by: Anonymous, Daniel Arango, Pablo León de la Barra, Jarrod Beck, Jean de Boysson, W. Chase, G J Climer, Ashton Anders Correa, Jonathan Crespo, TM & Liam Davy, David Deitcher, John Paul Detty, Rafael Perez Evans, Allen Frame, Jack Fritscher, Vincent W. Gagliostro, Terence Gower, Daniel Greenfield, Daniel Handal, Christopher Hollowell, Aram Jibilian, John Jurayj, Dave King, Doron Langberg, Michael Lehman, Trygve Luktvasslimo, Sebastiano Mauri, Matthias Vriens Mcgrath, Michael, Billy Miller, John Monteith, Matthew-Robin Nye, Eugenio Percossi, Matthu Placek, Eric Rhein, Manu Rodriguez, Samuel Roeck, Sergio Roger, Cyrus Saint, Patterson Scarlett, Christopher Schulz, Jacques Servin, Ethan Shoshan, Jean-Michel Sivry, Daniel Smith, John J. Spencer III, Max Steele, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, George Towne, Ultra-red, Jonathan VanDyke, Antoine Vigne, Jason Wee, Seth Joseph Weine, Eric Wolf, and Jake Yuzna.

Writings by: Johan Andersson, Kate Bornstein, Jill H. Casid, Ingrid Chu and Savannah Gorton, Joel Czarlinsky, Tim Dean, Aiken Forrett, Katherine Franke, Gordon Brent Ingram, José Esteban Muñoz, Eileen Myles, Ann Pellegrini and Janet R. Jakobsen, and John Paul Ricco.

Performances by: J. Morrison: Last Call, Juan Betancurth and Todd Shalom: Sketchy Walk, Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff: TENS.

Carlos Motta (b. 1978, Bogotá, Columbia) received a BFA in Photography, School of Visual Arts, New York (2001), a MFA, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2003), and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York (2005-2006). Solo exhibitions include: New Museum, New York (upcoming 2012); Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany (2010); Museo de Arte del Banco de la República Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia (2010); MoMA PS1, New York (2009); Art in General, New York (2008); and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA (2008). A collaborative commission for Performa 11 is upcoming (2011). His group exhibitions include: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (2010); San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA (2010); X Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2009). Grants and awards include New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) (2010); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (2008); Art Matters Foundation (2007); The Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (2006); and his work has been featured in Arte al Día, Artforum, Artnews, Art on Paper, The New York Times, and TimeOut New York.

Joshua Lubin-Levy (b. 1984, Boston, Massachusetts) received a BA in American Studies and Theater, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (2006); and an MA (2010) as part of his current PhD candidacy in Performance Studies, New York University, New York (upcoming 2014). He has had directorial collaborations at Dance Theater Workshop, New York (2011); and Performance Space 122, New York (2010). Lubin-Levy has also collaborated on performances at 6to8months, New York (2010), and at Performance Space 122, New York (2010). He has performed at The Kitchen, New York (2009), and Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York (2009), among others. Additionally, he has worked at Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation and The Watermill Center, Water Mill, NY (2009), and organized conferences and symposia at New York University, New York (2011, 2010). Lubin-Levy is the recipient of awards and grants including Corrigan Fellowship (2010); Marion G. White Award (2006); Rachel Henderson Award (2006); Davenport Grant (2005); among others.

Petite Mort: Recollections of a Queer Public is curated by Ingrid Chu and Savannah Gorton and commissioned & published by Forever & Today, Inc.

Funding for the Petite Mort book was made possible in part by USA Projects, an online initiative of United States Artists, with donations by over 70 supporters.

Special thanks to all the authors, contributors, and performers, Sean Johnson, Marteinn Jónasson of Oddi Printing, Charles W. Leslie, José Esteban Muñoz, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Kira Shewfelt of United States Artists (USA), and Carl Williamson of Familiar.