As a Queer artist, I have always been drawn to what lies hidden in shadows. In the popular imagination, these shadows are often inhabited by flamboyant, gender-bending monsters and villains. Growing up as a feminine boy, I sought refuge in these shadows as a means of escaping ridicule and violence. At the same time, they made me feel both invisible and isolated. As I developed my artistic voice, I found inspiration in the people, places, and objects that society deemed obsolete, from abandoned beach towns and forgotten pulp fiction writers to outdated analog video equipment. But it is the stories and histories of the Queer people who lived during the homophile era, before the Stonewall uprising of 1969, that are perhaps the most forgotten and discarded of all. I am fascinated by the lives of my Queer ancestors who were forced to live underground out of fear of persecution and whose stories were hidden or destroyed. Through my work, I strive to shed light on the forgotten and overlooked, bringing them back to life in a modern context. By unifying all of these disparate fragments through a Queer lens, my art creates a space where their significance can be discovered in a new light.
BOBBY ABATE (Brooklyn, NY) is a queer artist, filmmaker and editor. Exhibitions and screenings include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York Film Festival, Guggenheim in Bilbao, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Cinematheque, the ICA in London and most recently the 42nd annual Harper College Small Works exhibition. Bobby has a BFA from MassArt in Boston and an MFA degree from Bard College. He was the 2020 recipient of the Princess Grace Artist Development Grant. In 2021, Bobby released the Outsider Tarot, a queer re-invention of the Tarot featuring 80 original artworks. As an editor, Bobby's credits include the queer docuseries We're Here on HBO and animation projects with drag artist Sasha Velour. He is also working on an ongoing series of 2D works and a screenplay focused on the queer underground and drag culture in the era before the Stonewall riots of 1969.