Building on a history of protest signage, Brooklyn-based artist Tuesday Smillie (b. 1981, Boston) delves into transgender activism and identity politics, questioning the address of language and the imprint of the past on the present in a multimedia practice that includes watercolor, collage, and textile-based work. To build another world, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, spans two decades, drawing together various threads of her practice and marking the debut of new works made specifically for her Rose exhibition.
Speculating on the potential impact that collective action can have on creating a more equitable and just world, Smillie’s sewn and embroidered textile works use text both original and borrowed—citations from literature as well as the rallying cries of 1970s trans activist movements. Science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin’s work recurs as an inspirational source; most notably her book The Left Hand of Darkness, in which inhabitants of the planet Gethen shift fluidly between genders. Smillie’s work continues these dialogues, looking critically at past movements even as she underscores the revolutionary power of the imagination that fueled them. For, as she writes: “To build another world, we must first be brave enough to imagine how that world could be.”
Tuesday Smillie is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award, which supports her exhibition and residency. Additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation also support programs and engagement.