Born 1970, Baltimore. Lives and works in Philadelphia.
Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles
Come Out, Come Out, Art on the Underground, Transport for London
What Do We Want, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin
Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better than the Real Real Thing, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Allegory of Happiness, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Trento, Italy
On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time, University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine
It’s Human Nature?, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg (forthcoming)
Comizi d’Amore, Georg Kargl, Vienna (forthcoming)
Contemporanea International Film Festival, Turin (forthcoming)
(Wahl-) Familie, Die, Wir, Sind, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg
What is the Proper Way to Display a Flag?, Museum für moderne Kunst, Weserburg
Paint the Protest, Off Paradise, New York
To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Shifting the Silence, SFMoMA, San Francisco
Performing Past-Present: Transforming Reenactment, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Pennsylvania
A Decade of Acquisitions of Works on Paper, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
After August Sander, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen
Revolutionary Love: I am Your Worst Fear, I am Your Best Fantasy
For ‘Revolutionary Love: I am Your Worst Fear, I am Your Best Fantasy’, Sharon Hayes gathered 100 people in the summer of 2008 at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to read a text in unison addressing political desire and romantic love as a two-part commission for Creative Time’s summer-long, national public art initiative ‘Democracy in America: The National Campaign’, curated by Nato Thompson.
Conflating grassroots political activism, performance art, queer theory, and national politics, Hayes’ two large-scale, public performances included speakers drawn from the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community in each city who became the medium of her work by reciting the text written by Hayes. The ten to twenty minute texts were read three times over the course of two hours.
Drawing on both the history of the Gay Liberation movement, which forged a new and deep relationship between love and politics, and the current political moment, in which the war figures as a central element in the Presidential campaign, this performance challenged simplistic oppositions between love and war. Specifically, Hayes is interested in the militaristic aspect of groups that operated at the beginning of the gay rights movement, many of whom assumed aggressive, reactionary stances to culture at large. Where the classic slogan says, “Make love not war,” Hayes references the Stonewall-era Gay Liberation movement and their chant, “An army of lovers cannot lose.”
These performances are intended to be spectacles, and are designed to mirror the spectacular nature of the National Conventions. Reacting against the tendency of groups to polarize feelings about homosexuality for political gain, Hayes describes these performances as personal addresses to the power structure, or a group of people speaking their hearts as one.