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Ricardo Montez

Ricardo Montez is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at the New School for Public Engagement where he recently developed and chaired the curricular programs in Race and Ethnicity and Gender and Sexuality. He is currently completing a monograph on the artist Keith Haring titled Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire.

"In Control of Being Out of Control: Grace Jones, Keith Haring and the Ends of Paradise"
This presentation considers Grace Jones’s performance of fleshly possibility in the context of downtown New York and its history. In particular, I will think about her collaborations with the artist Keith Haring in the space of the Paradise Garage. As artists, both Jones and Haring demonstrate a deep investment in the possibility of surfaces as spaces of contradiction. To review the archives of these two figures is to witness the production of artistic assemblages that signal historical selves in process where both artists continually enact a sensual aesthetics of racialization. The pop primitive spectacle of Grace Jones singing “Slave to the Rhythm” at the Garage emerges from the archive as an illuminating, affective experience that renders, in sight and sound, the merging of two artists’ performative projects—projects which refuse any simple containment within the narratives of loss and obsolescence commonly used to historicize 1980s downtown New York.


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