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MA X COLBY
“Untitled,” 2019; crystal and plastic beads, found fabric, trim, ornaments, plastic flowers, polyester batting, thread, glass stand; 8 x 8 x 14”.
➤ MAX COLBY, from p.96 is the strong contingent of visible and trans people who are responding. “All of the recent language which rejects the binary has had an enormous impact on me. I remember telling my family at 13 that I wanted to transition, male to female. I knew no other dialogue but a binary one — you were either cis and gay/ lesbian or straight, or trans and female or male. At that time, you couldn’t do anything without a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, and as the conversation unfolded transitioning and my trans identity was cut off, so I retreated and lived as cis for 15 years. It’s only through this very recent language around gender that I’ve been able to fully embrace myself, my identity, and my work which was trying to get me to come out again as trans before I could even see it.” As for the Stonewall 50 anniversary, Colby said, “It’s important to remember that trans women of color gave us the Stonewall riots and Pride. Our contemporary understanding of public assembly and resistance as a body of queers is indebted to them. Yet this is the demographic that continues to be GayCityNews.nyc | June 27 - July 3, 2019
denied basic human rights. Pride has been corporatized and coopted. We must transparently tell history and refocus our efforts. It is not better — or even livable for all of us.” Colby continued, “When I was young, I didn’t have any trans role models. There wasn’t any dialogue. We are still less grievable by society.” I wondered if their new multicolored funeral wreaths spoke to this “ungrievability?” “The way in which my work has gravitated recently to pieces that deal with ceremonies around someone’s death, it was an intentional movement, but it’s not a coincidence. It’s something I think about and these references are in some ways inevitable in my work.” I asked how — when their work, although beautiful, is so charged with such intense personal and community meanings — they relax. Colby laughed and said, “Getting my looks together, shopping, curating that stuff, that’s fun for me. It’s time I get totally to myself where I’m able to play.” Find more information on Max Colby’s art at maxcolby.com.
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