Michelle Handelman “LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL Icons from Hustlers & Empires”

signs and symbols

poster for Michelle Handelman “LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL Icons from Hustlers & Empires”

This event has ended.

signs and symbols presents Michelle Handelman’s LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL, the first in Handelman’s series of video Icons from her latest multiplatform project HUSTLERS & EMPIRES (2018). Originally commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hustlers & Empires explores transgression as a mode of survival, examining the complicated relationship between pleasure and risk, and how identity is formed in resistance to oppression. Part opera, part manifesto, the project draws on Handelman’s own experience of growing up among drug dealers and pimps during the 1970s, as well as the stories of three real and imagined hustlers, Iceberg Slim’s Pimp (1967); Marguerite Duras’s The Lover (1984); and Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit (1968).
For this iteration at signs and symbols, Handelman presents a remix of Hustlers & Empires, devoting the entire exhibition to the character, the LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL, a character loosely based on the life and work of French filmmaker and writer Marguerite Duras and performed by queer Latinx activist VIVA RUIZ. The exhibition includes a unique installation that combines video, wallpaper, posters, performance and text. A live performance will take place at the gallery during Frieze art week.

Handelman’s Hustlers & Empires is a multiplatform project that dares to take us on a journey into the minds of some of society’s most controversial figures. Interweaving the stories of three hustlers from three different time periods, the entire project presents three archetypal characters (The Pimp, The Lover, and The Actor) and places them under a cultural microscope in order to analyze pervasive issues of class, race and gender. Handelman recontextualizes these historical figures through the three legendary queer performers JOHN KELLY, SHANNON FUNCHESS and VIVA RUIZ, directing each performer to play versions of themselves within her transgressive fiction, while deconstructing the original texts. At the heart of the project is a song cycle and accompanying manifestos that Handelman created in collaboration with each performer.

LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL uses music, gestures and monologues written in collaboration with Viva Ruiz, a queer Latinx artist, activist and performer. Handelman and Ruiz interweave their own personal stories of underground survival, sex work and abuse to construct a queer feminist framework in which to look at ways of fighting back in the #METOO world. Extracting existential questions of survival and belonging, they look at oppressive systems of economic control that are just as relevant today.

Originally commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Frank Smigiel, former Associate Curator, Performance & Film, at SFMOMA. Additional support provided by Art Matters; New York State Council of the Arts; Brooklyn Fireproof Films.



from April 18, 2019 to May 26, 2019
Performances: Saturday, May 4, 4pm and second date TBD Image: Michelle Handelman, Hustlers and Empires (2018), photo courtesy the artist

Opening Reception on 2019-04-18 from 18:00 to 20:00

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