Please join us to celebrate the online launch of Indisposable: Structures of Support After the ADA. The Ford Foundation Gallery’s new exhibition, curated by Jessica A. Cooley and Ann M. Fox, is a multi-module online exhibition series that will roll out over the course of 2020 – 2021. Drawn from some of the leading artists and scholars addressing the lived experience of disability today, Indisposable addresses the urgent questions of our moment where pandemic and demands for racial justice intersect.
The first chapter of the series will begin with a performance by actor/playwright Ryan J. Haddad, who will serve as MC. The event will feature a poetry reading by scholar/writer Ellen Samuels and feature a new film by Alex Dolores Salerno. Alex’s short meditative film focuses on three scenes from their mother’s hometown San Pedro de la Bendita in southern Ecuador and the neighboring town of Vilcabamba, which was made famous by purported claims of residents who lived well beyond 100 years. Dubbed “The Valley of Longevity”, Vilcabamba became a popular destination for American and European tourists. The film sets a pace of rest and repose for the viewer while asking us to consider the disabling ramifications of colonialism and tourism and the high value placed on productivity and immortality. The film screening will be followed by a conversation between artists Alex Dolores Salerno and Kevin Quiles Bonilla.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Jessica A. Cooley and Ann M. Fox have been curatorial collaborators since 2009. Jessica is a scholar-curator currently finishing her dissertation titled Crip Materiality, which forwards a new methodology to address how ableism affects the understanding and valuation of the very fibers of art materials within curatorial and conservation discourses; Ann is a Professor of English at Davidson College in Davidson, NC, with specialties in disability studies in literature and art. They have co-curated two disability-related exhibitions together, RE/FORMATIONS: Disability, Women, and Sculpture and STARING. In addition, both Jessica and Ann have been invited to give national and international talks, hired as consultants to lend their expertise to issues related to disability and art, and contributed to a broad range of other curatorial projects and publications.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Kevin Quiles Bonilla (b. 1992) is an interdisciplinary artist born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received a BA in Fine Arts – Photography from the University of Puerto Rico (2015) and an MFA in Fine Arts from Parsons The New School for Design (2018). His work has been presented in Puerto Rico, The United States, Mexico, China, Belgium, and Japan. He’s the recipient of an Emerging Artist Award from The John F. Kennedy Center (2017). He has recently presented his work at The Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, The Shelly & Rubin Foundation’s 8th Floor Gallery, Dedalus Foundation, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Project Space. He has been an artist in residence at Art Beyond Sight’s Arts + Disability Residency (2018-2019), Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Queer Performance Residency (2019) and LMCC’s Workspace Residency (2019-2020). He explores ideas around power, colonialism, and history with his identity as context. He currently lives and works between Puerto Rico and New York.
Ryan J. Haddad is an actor, playwright and autobiographical performer based in New York. His acclaimed solo play Hi, Are You Single? was presented in The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and continues to tour the country. Other New York credits include My Straighties (Ars Nova/ANT Fest), Noor and Hadi Go to Hogwarts (Theater Breaking Through Barriers), and the cabaret Falling for Make Believe (Joe’s Pub). Regional credits include The Maids, Lucy Thurber’s Orpheus in the Berkshires (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Hi, Are You Single? (Guthrie Theater, Cleveland Play House, Williamstown Theatre Festival). Television credits include “Bull,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Haddad has performed original work at La MaMa E.T.C., the New Museum and The LGBT Center of New York City. His plays in development include Good Time Charlie and Dark Disabled Stories. He is a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and a former Queer|Art Performance and Playwriting Fellow under the mentorship of Moe Angelos.
Alex Dolores Salerno (b. 1994, Washington D.C.) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Their practice is informed by themes of care, interdependency, queer-crip temporality and the commodification of rest. Salerno received their M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design and their B.S. in Studio Art from Skidmore College. They have exhibited at Franklin Street Works (CT), Westbeth Gallery (NYC), Gibney Dance (NYC), IA&A at Hillyer (Washington D.C.), The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum (NY), Amos Eno Gallery (Brooklyn), among others. Most recently, they have been an artist in residence at Trestle Art Space (2019) and Art Beyond Sight’s Art + Disability Residency Program (2019-2020).
Ellen Samuels is a disability writer and scholar and Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her books include Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race (NYU Press, 2014) and a forthcoming poetry collection Hypermobilities (Operating System, 2021). Her critical and creative writing appears in dozens of journals and anthologies, including Signs, GLQ, South Atlantic Quarterly, Disability Studies Quarterly, Disability Visibility, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Mid-American Review, and Journal of the American Medical Association. She has received the Catherine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship and two Lambda Literary Awards. She lives in Madison, WI with her partner, son, and dog.
Image caption: Alex Dolores Salerno, El Dios Acostado (video still), 2020