MOST IMPORTANT UGLY
April 25, 2014 July 25, 2014 American Two Shot
135 Grand street, NYC Opening Reception: April 25th, 6:00-9:00pm
Hello friends and friendly strangers –
If you know me at all, you know I live and breathe both makeup and memories – the stories that lipstick can tell you and the people who wear them help me wake up in the morning. Call it shallow or call it survival. I’d consider it more the latter and it’s the heart of Most Important Ugly.
What exactly should you expect? In essence,
it’s a series of 13 portraits that negotiate the
sitter’s stories of alienation and presentation,
memories and disremembering. In order to sit
for their photo to be taken, I asked each muse
a series of questions about shame, safety,
power, family and beauty. This series of
questions is called “Therapy Sessions in Sephora,” a reference to the place where I came up with the questions and the place where the ideas for this project began to unfold.
This project discusses anxiety and queer marginalization, revealing the monsters that are hidden inside of us when we are taught what we are is not enough, or is too much, or that it shouldn’t exist at all. It is a presentation of the resistance of marginalized people and how makeup can bring out the best in you: it’s just that the best is not always what is expected, or the most beautiful, or the most kind. Most Important Ugly tells the story of Monster Culture and the everyday heroes that it breeds. The heroes are my friends in the queer community, my readers, our friends. Nonbinary beauties, trans friends, queer and questioning people we know and love all came together to sit for this project and it is their stories that we have the honor to share in these photographs. Gertrude Stein once wrote: “Give me new face new faces new faces I have seen the old ones.” This is our response to this idea of a beauty culture where we do not belong.
There are 13 portraits in the installation. There will also be a Limited Edition zine (Edition of 100 copies) detailing our process and monster culture, and it will include the original questions asked of each sitter. That way, you can learn what your Most Important Ugly is, too.