The first Queer Biennial is a national survey focusing on the current moment in out/queer/LGBT visual culture — a salient idea, and one that's sure to be expanded upon in the future. Though its curator, Ruben Esparza, and its first venue, Coagula Curatorial, are both L.A. institutions, the Biennial has elements planned for New York, Mexico and Europe and includes artists from the American West, East and Mid, and even a little bit of Canada. Contributions come from bondage-friendly photographer and director Rick Castro; jewelry designer and metalworker Angela Gleason; filmmaker, writer, photographer and mixed-media artist Bruce LaBruce; photocollagist and neon sculptor Lili Lakich; and portraitist, muralist and illustrator Miguel Angel Reyes. Musicians and performers include Themegoman, Crystal Powers and Devan M, along with photographer and indie-erotica provocateur Dave Naz; Austin Young, champion of transgender fabulosity in photography, performance, film and public spectacle; and conceptualist and curator Esparza, whose pun-laden mixed-media work mashes up commercial and alternative cultural signifiers. As you might expect, the exhibition (and related happenings both at the opening and during the July 26 Perform Chinatown festival) is provocative in its ideas and inclusive in its style, with artists sharing only a sensibility that Esparza describes as “not shying away from sexuality, identity, the body and all-around queerness.” What you might not have anticipated? The familiarity and accessibility on display here. After all, the show is fundamentally just about the human experience. Coagula Curatorial, 974 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Sat., June 28, 7-11 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m., through July 26. (424) 226-2485, queerbiennial.com.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 28. Continues through July 26, 2014
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