Sex, Death, and Visceral Honesty
Jan 12–Feb 3, 2019
In continuing support of the multi-faceted output of Layet Johnson’s practice, Good Weather has parlayed an invitation from The Front member Tom Friel to present an exhibition into an opportunity to focus on Johnson’s curatorial work. While teaching and directing the galleries at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Johnson has activated a devolutionary role as a curator beside an ongoing interest in comics through the lens of his drawing and conceptual art practice.
Exemplifying this modality is the exhibition Sex, Death, and Visceral Honesty: Artworks and Publications by Independent Women’s Comic Artists from the 1960s Underground Movement to Today, co-curated with Leela Corman. For this exhibition, Corman and Johnson employed an invitational method where participating artists invited further artists to join the exhibition, creating an expansive network of American women’s comic artists. For Johnson, the exhibition was underlined by a personal inquiry into examining the history of women’s comics from the perspective of the contemporary.
The exhibition includes work by 31 women’s comic artists from around the United States, including Justine Andersen, Ivy Atoms, Ariel Bordeaux, Jessica Campbell, Lilli Carré, Flannery Cashill, Tyler Cohen, Leela Corman, Erin Curry, Anya Davidson, Margot Ferrick, Jess Fink, Emily Flake, Mary Fleener, W. T. Frick, Phoebe Gloeckner, Veronica Graham, Roberta Gregory, Rachel Mesplay Helm, MariNaomi, Megan Kelso, Lucy Knisley, Caroline McClain, Carta Monir, Molly Colleen O’Connell, Lark Pien, Kristen Radtke, Keiler Jean Roberts, Jess Ruliffson, Beatrix Urkowitz, and Mickey Zacchilli.
Corman and Johnson frame the exhibition as a representation of “independent women’s comic artists not merely as an underrepresented category of artists, but as artists who are and have been telling stories concerning their bodies and experiences in patriarchal society since the 1960’s underground comics scene. As an extension of the Feminist movement, currently epitomized by #MeToo, women’s comic book art becomes a protest in itself, making an exhibition of it a form of rally. Unlike historical exhibition models that present subsequent events on a theme, ours is a critical mass. In organizing the exhibition, the curator’s role is thus to facilitate and to record a conversation between women comic book artists, writers, editors, critics, and publishers who may weigh in on this moment we are in that is so personal to them.”
For this iteration of the exhibition, Johnson has designed a sculptural display system that wraps the gallery and presents original drawings, along with books and zines, by participating artists in the form of a reading library. The exhibition will open Saturday, January 12, 2019, at The Front with a reception from 6 to 10 pm.The show will continue until February 3, 2019. Regular gallery hours are 12–5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The Front is located at 4100 St Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117.
This exhibition was originally presented at the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Art Galleries from October 16–November 15, 2018 and included an accompanying essay, In Defense of All-Woman Anything by Trina Robbins, editor of The Complete Wimmen’s Comix (Fantagraphics Press, 2016).