A tradition since 2001, Queens International is the Museum’s biennial exhibition of artists living or working in Queens. While each iteration has had its own curatorial team and vision, what remains constant is the central aim of highlighting and contextualizing the artistic vibrancy of the borough through contemporary cultural productions in all media.
Queens International 2016 characteristically looks to the idea of thresholds, and the way spaces for transition, contact, and exchange become markers for the complex forces that shape contemporary life. Many of the 34 participating artists, collectives, and partner organizations use performance-based and site-specific approaches to incorporate the museum’s architectural and historical context and engage the diverse body of the museum audience. Ongoing projects in Queens International 2016 include experimental and often participatory events, genre-bending musical concerts, and international collaborations between Queens artists and their global counterparts. The politics of borders and border-crossing are expanded through the exhibition and public programs to include not only the discourse of physical territory and migration, but also the act of transgressing between artistic disciplines, linguistic or ideological divides, digital and human interfaces, and prescriptive narratives of the past, present, and future.
References and source materials used by the artists zoom in and out of visibility from local to global, from micro to macro, and from private to public: the dominance of Western advertising in post-conflict Beirut; the international ubiquity of Mariachi bands; hyper-development in the New York City real estate market; the not-so-anonymous crowdsourced Internet marketplace; the reassessment of the body or embodiment in contemporary life; and the remixing of artistic identity with a local Jazz legend. Queens International 2016 navigates these shifts between assumed binaries and examines the ways in which systems regulate our bodies and environments.
Responding to the increasingly intertwined relationship of printed and digital media today, Queens International 2016 features a contemporary model of publishing and distribution that develops into its maturity through post-opening contributions, generated by participating artists’ interactions among themselves and with external responders. An evolving web platform will produce a print-on-demand publication that will incorporate content authored over the course of the exhibition. The website–serving as a living hub for documentation, artist interviews, short-form writing, and commentary from wide-ranging responders–in turn comprises a publication that can either be printed on-site at the exhibition via a risograph printer, or accessed as a downloadable PDF. In line with the character of Queens International 2016, the risograph method allows the publication to sit somewhere between a handmade screenprint and Xerox copy, giving digitally formatted content a uniquely physical property.
Queens International 2016 is organized by guest curator Lindsey Berfond and Queens Museum Director of Exhibitions Hitomi Iwasaki.
The multi-outlet publishing platform was realized by designer and creative director Ayham Ghraowi with Martin Bek and Brandon Gamm. Copy editors are Grace Duggan and Curatorial Assistant Sophia Marisa Lucas.
Queens International 2016 is generously supported by Mark & Katie Coleman, LaGuardia Corporate Center Associates, LLC, Blumenfeld Development Group, Leo & Patti Hindery, and Douglas and Sarah Luke. Special thanks to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant and Espacio Odeón (Bogotá, Colombia) and Frame Visual Art Finland for their support of individual artists in the exhibition. Major programming support for 2016 has been provided in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Very special thanks to: all of the artists in Queens International 2016 for their dynamic participation in this exhibition, programs, and publication; Queens Museum staff members for their unending dedication and support in various aspects of this entire project; and brave curatorial interns, engaged members of Queens Teens, as well as the devoted staff members at Immigrant Movement International.