This past weekend, Luis de Jesus Gallery on La Cienega opened their newest show featuring the collaborative work of Amos Mac and Zackary Drucker: Distance Is Where The Heart Is, Home Is Where You Hang Your Heart. The show features Amos’ lens focused on Drucker, a multitalented artist who plays with gender, performance, and identity. The Luis de Jesus show is the result of Mac and Drucker spending a few hours together “over a long, snowed-in Christmas weekend at Drucker’s childhood home in Syracuse, New York.” And, really, the work is brilliant.
The work is great in what it is presenting (Drucker in snow, covered in furs; Drucker draped around various parts of the house; Drucker wearing almost nothing on a kitchen table; etc.), playing with gender and gender performance in ways that have you rethinking what is male and what is female. Moreover, the work is particularly fascinating as Mac is a trans man while Drucker is a trans woman: the ensuing conversation between the two is truly an “experiment in cross-identity representation.” It’s a brilliant piece that is very current in the LGBT art community and, beyond that, is a beautiful body of work that no one can deny.
Beyond this collaboration, Drucker works to “addresses sexual exploitation, transgender representation, and drag performance in order to explore relationships that facilitate queer/counter-cultural lineage.” This is, of course, accomplished through her photography and video/performances, the most representative of all media. Her website streams clips from some of her video work, including One Fist from a show in Italy (where a golden Drucker is unwrapped before an audience, becoming “unbound”) and Fish (where she and her mother speak about who they are–while posing as Marilyn Monroe). The two videos both hit gender identity on the head–one even calls names her a “snatchy, bitchy, lispy, fishy, sissy, cunty, cross-dressing, drag queen daughter/son,” a line which is shared by she and her mother.
Drucker’s art is something that is meant to have an interaction with the spectator, aiming to make them question art, entertainment, queerness, and history. On her work and position in it, Drucker explains: “Locating myself both behind and in front of the lens, I inhabit the palatable, and often vacated aesthetic sensibility of drag, replacing the formulaic lip-synching routine with subversive language; I seek to destabilize both the drag-puppet and the voyeur, in an effort to humanize these reductive representations and simultaneously challenge their modes of misinterpretation. My work provides a place to construct myself. I revisit erased histories, perform and inhabit multiple roles and narratives, and document moments of, and in between, gender scripting a narrative that is inherently self-reflexive as it is constructed, deconstructed and experienced.”
Distance Is Where The Heart Is, Home Is Where You Hang Your Heart is on view at Luis de Jesus through January 22. For more on the show, you can take a peek at Luis de Jesus’ website. And, if you can’t make it, definitely pick up a copy of Amos Mac’s first publication of Translady Fanzine, a fine art periodical that “is a collaboration between model and photographer, transwoman and transman.” The first issue is a showcases much of the work from the show.