Collage image of black and white portraits on a yellow background

More World :: Brian Hitselberger

On View :: Sat. May. 14th, 2022 - Sun. Jun. 26th, 2022

Reading Room
Exhibition Dates: May 14, 2022 – June 26, 2022
Receptions: Saturday May 14 2022 and Saturday June 11, 2022 6pm-10pm

In the manic early days of Donald Trump’s presidency and following an incidence of hate speech in my literal front yard, I created Counterspell collaboratively with seven other queer artists. I wanted to confront my own anxieties about our shared state of affairs, and use my work to manifest queer community during a moment when manifesting queer community felt especially critical. The process of exhibiting the piece over the next several years was charged and restorative: this marks the fifth installation of the project. Along the way, I self-published a zine to accompany the piece each time it was exhibited. This too was a restorative gesture: in it, I could record my thinking and experience in terms “that no one could rewrite or deny.” 1

More World brings together my earlier Counterspell project with a collection of queer zines and writing that also work to manifest community. The artist publications here form a small constellation of the projects that have enlarged my own ideas of what it is to be a queer artist and person. I often reflect on Nayland Blake’s observation that “queer people are the only minority whose culture is not transmitted within the biological family.”2 The types of spaces opened by these books are amiable, inconvenient, argumentative, contradictory, lurid, fractious, tender and everything in-between. In other words, they are earnestly and faithfully human.

Alongside these curated books are a series of new mailer works; in 2020 during COVID-19 lockdown I began working with the USPS as a collaborator in response to social distancing and enforced separation. For these pieces I fold, tape, address and stamp works on paper in my Indiana studio and mail them directly to artists and galleries, allowing for the marks of the postal system to affect the images. Chosen Family combines a black-and-white author photo of every LGBTQIA+ writer currently on my bookshelves in a large grid-based collage, while Bibliography illustrates highlighted passages from queer texts of great personal significance, including artist/activist David Wojnarowicz’s 1991 memoir Close to the Knives. Wojnarowicz’s words form the basis of two additional mailer pieces, which further highlight the long shadow cast by the late artist’s text.

Artist Bio:

Brian Hitselberger is an artist living and working in Lafayette, Indiana.

His installations, paintings and works on paper explore a variety of themes that shift between subjects and perspectives alternately intimate and immense – occasionally within the same piece. Often working in series, his recent subject matter includes sleeping and dreaming, hate speech, drag queens as spiritual healers, and queer magic.

His work has been exhibited widely, primarily throughout the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic. He has held residencies at the Elsewhere Artists Collaborative, the Hub City Arts Initiative, and the Hambidge Center for the Arts and the Lyndon House Arts Center. He has received funding for his work from the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Willson Center for the
Humanities, the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Indiana Arts Commission.

He has a BFA in Printmaking from Tulane University, and an MFA in Painting from the University of Georgia. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Rueff School of Design, Art and Performance at Purdue University.

Brian Hitselberger :: More World