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Anne Reid ’72 Gallery at Princeton Day School presents Photography is also an act of love, an exhibition of artwork by Naima Green, Allen Frame and Zachary Lucero. The exhibition takes its title from the opening sentence of Ghost Image (2014) by Hervé Guibert, a book of sixty-three prose poems about photography that reference Guibert’s observations and experiences as a gay artist relating to family, friendship, memory and desire. The three featured artists in this exhibition speak to very different geographically-based experiences of queerness and belonging. They center sensitivity in their work and move fluidly between mediums, both found and created, to speak to memory and to unpack histories of chosen and inherited family.
Naima Green explores community and identity in NYC and beyond through portraiture, sculpture, installation, and text. Her project, Pur·suit (2018), features friends, other artists, strangers, and activists, including the QTBIPOC collective bklyn boihood and womxn of color collective BUFU among others. Pur·suit is displayed here as large format prints and as a deck of playing cards. In this exhibition, the deck is situated in an installation meant to allude to the artist’s living room where many of her portraits from the series MumboJumbo (2016) were photographed. The living room provides a comfortable, intimate place within the gallery for visitors to interact with each other and the artwork. Another work on display entitled Open Tabs Piece(s) consists of an ongoing series of poems constructed from recent searches on the artist’s web browser. Fragments of language such as “My mother left Tennessee in 1968. Fifty years after Martin L…,” “lesbian herstory archives – Google Search,” “Video: Watch Brittany Howard Play The Tiny Desk : NPR” and “52 Lienzos expuestos al aire de la Cuidad de México | Labor” gift us entry points into Green’s process and life.
Allen Frame, Boy on a Dolphin, 2018
Allen Frame grew up in Mississippi in the 1950s and ‘60s. After being educated at Harvard University, Frame moved to New York where he came of age as a photographer in the downtown art scene. Frame’s early collaborations with artists such as Nan Goldin and Bill Rice set the groundwork for a photographic practice as rooted in human experience as in poetics and theory. Having grown up in a time with little blatant evidence of gay identity in mainstream culture, Frame sought to create it himself – photographing people (queer and otherwise) in intimate and public spaces around the world and transforming found ephemera into personal artifact. Works like Emmett the Sad Clown (2021) displayed in this exhibition pair a found drawing of a melancholy clown with a photograph of Frame’s dying mother and a cracked doll’s head. The juxtaposition suggests the grief that results from suppressing authentic desire in order to survive in an exclusionary culture. Other works like Walking Bogie (2021) pair a small found painting of an idyllic suburban home with a photograph of a dog paused between its walker and a medical van. This work as well as The View (2021), also on display, suggest a discrepancy between what we see from the outside and what we experience internally. Frame’s triptych, Boy on a Dolphin (2018), blurs the boundaries between observation and imagination. Two photographs of a man swinging a young boy playfully in a circle by the sea accompany a poem that connects a chance encounter to a memory from Allen’s childhood.
Zachary Lucero uses diaristic writing and photography to investigate his Indigenous, Chicano and Spanish American heritage. His family is from the New Mexico-Colorado border; in his words “an amalgamation of towns and deserts that is referred to as the San Luis Valley.” Lucero employs archival modalities to reflect on aspects of his identity. Without depicting himself in the literal sense, Lucero offers us a dynamic self-portrait collaged from a wide array of imagery and text. Again, in Lucero’s words: “My ethnicity is a combination of several cultures and is in the foreground of my identity and American experience. It intersects with my gay identity, queer identity, my oscillating masculine and feminine expression, my gender, education, income, social life, my artwork and my writings.” Works like Tiffany Has Kids Now ushers us into Lucero’s expansive inner world through his early friendship with a girl named Tiffany who he knew in grade school. The title of the work plants us firmly in the present, yet alludes to a rupture in time and to a pair of divergent life experiences, perhaps a result of differing expectations based on gender and sexuality. Other works like 4931 West Colorado Avenue: Snake (and others from that series) are made from found photographs of Lucero’s parents when they attended a predominantly white bike rally as members of a small Latino motorcycle gang in the 1990s. Paired with a poem titled the same, Lucero unearths the nuances of intergenerational trauma and joy as well as the often-buried complexities of family dynamics. One might view Lucero’s practice as a form of healing – a discovery of beauty in adolescence, approached from the relative safety of distance and time.
More about the artists:
Naima Green is an artist, photographer, and educator from New York. Her works have been featured in exhibitions at Fotografiska New York, Smart Museum of Art, MASS MoCA, International Center of Photography, Houston Center for Photography, Bronx Museum, BRIC, Gallery 102, Gracie Mansion Conservancy, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Arsenal Gallery, amongst others. Her work has been collected by Barnard College Library, Decker Library at MICA, Fleet Library at RISD, International Center of Photography Library, Leslie-Lohman Museum, MoMA Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Hirsch Library, National Gallery of Art, Olin Library, Cornell University, Smart Museum of Art and Teacher’s College at Columbia University. She holds an MFA in Photography from ICP–Bard, an MA in Art and Art Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, and a BA in Urban Studies and Sociology from Barnard College. She is currently the Harnish Visiting Artist and Lecturer in Photography at Smith College.
Allen Frame is a photographer and writer, based in New York and represented by Gitterman Gallery in New York, which, in 2022, will present an exhibition of work from his new book Fever, previously unpublished color photographs made in New York in 1981, and published by Matte Editions. Meteoro Editions will publish a book of his work from Italy, Innamorato, in 2022. Frame’s work will be shown with the work of his close friend, the late Darrel Ellis, in an exhibition at Crone Galerie in Vienna in 2022. Frame is a winner of the 2017/2018 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and CECArtslink’s Back Apartment Residency in St. Petersburg, Russia, through CECArtslink 2019. Recently he was invited to be a Director’s Guest at Civitella Ranieri in Italy. His monograph Detour was published by Kehrer in 2021. He has been the curator of numerous exhibitions, including, most recently, Love and Jump Back, the Photography of Charles Henri Ford, at Mitchell Algus Gallery in New York; Shohei Miyachi and Context at Matte HQ, and Darrel Ellis at Art in General in 1996. He is an Adjunct Professor of Photography at Pratt Institute (MFA) and also teaches at the School of Visual Arts (BFA), the International Center of Photography in New York, and for Strudelmedialive. He graduated from Harvard University and grew up in Mississippi.
Zachary Lucero is a Brooklyn-based artist and writer. He received an MFA from Pratt Institute in 2016. His work has been exhibited and read in The Boiler Room, Pierogi Gallery, Unnameable Books, No. 4 Studio, The Sunview Luncheonette and Puffin Cultural Forum. He curated Let me hold your breath at Baxter Street Camera Club in New York City, featuring Tal Gilboa and Elizabeth Kleberg. He currently serves as an Academic Advisor for the Associate Art and BFA Interior Design Departments at Pratt Institute.