Artists Jess T. Dugan and David Antonio Cruz with Amber Johnson

October 23, 2021
11 am CDT
In Conversation series, online

Closed captioned

The Outwin artists Jess T. Dugan and David Antonio Cruz join Amber Johnson, professor of communication and social justice and associate provost, division of diversity and community engagement at Saint Louis University, to discuss representing friends, family, and activists in the queer community, as well as how the artists’ work disrupts the traditionally heteronormative genre of portraiture by centering queer bodies and queer intimacy.

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About the speakers

Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of identity through photographic portraiture. Dugan’s work has been widely exhibited and is in the permanent collections of more than 35 museums throughout the United States. Dugan’s monographs include To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) and Every Breath We Drew (Daylight Books, 2015). They are currently working on a new book with MACK to be published in the spring of 2022. They are the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, an ICP Infinity Award, and were selected by the Obama White House as an LGBT Artist Champion of Change. They are represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago.

David Antonio Cruz is a multidisciplinary artist and a professor of the practice in painting and drawing at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Cruz fuses painting and performance to explore the visibility and intersectionality of brown, black, and queer bodies. Cruz earned a BFA in painting from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Yale University. He attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and completed the AIM Program at the Bronx Museum. He recently completed residencies at the LMCC Workspace, Project for Empty Space’s Social Impact, and BRICworkspace. Cruz’s work has been included in notable group exhibitions at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, BRIC, Performa 13, and the Bronx Museum of Art. His fellowships and awards include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, the Franklin Furnace Fund Award, the Urban Artist Initiative Award, the Queer Mentorship Fellowship, and the Neubauer Faculty Fellowship at Tufts University.

Amber Johnson, PhD, is a scholar, artist, and activist, whose research and activism focus on narratives of identity, resistance, and social justice in digital media, popular media, and everyday lived experiences. They are founding director of The Justice Fleet, a mobile social justice museum that fosters healing through art dialogue and play, and co-founder of The Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, which specializes in humanizing equity and exploring the relationship between healing justice and equity. Johnson is also an award-winning professor in the Department of Communication and associate provost in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at Saint Louis University.

In Conversation

“In Conversation” is a series of live online talks with artists, art historians, and scholars, exploring the intersections of art, history, and contemporary life. Bring your own questions and insights to these lively discussions from wherever you are.

Image credits

Jess T. Dugan (b. 1986), detail of Jamie and Ann, 2016. Inkjet print, 29 ½ × 39 ½". Collection of the artist, courtesy of the Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago. © Jess T. Dugan.

David Antonio Cruz (b. 1974), detail of theboysdon'tplaynicewithanyone, portrait of april and june, 2018. Oil and latex on wood, 9 7∕8 × 48". Collection of the artist. © David Antonio Cruz.