Mar 18, 2018, 2PM

Coffee & Conversation: Cary Leibowitz and cultural indigestion




Enjoy a complimentary cup of Elixr coffee and join Philadelphia-based PhD and MFA candidates for an intimate conversation inspired by the ICA exhibitions on view.

This talk looks at Cary Leibowitz’s work through the lens of (in)digestion. Between the sumptuous pink carpet, his own moniker “Candyass,” the almost saccharine sweetness of his “authenticity,” and his citation of modernist tactics of estranging everyday commodities, Leibowtz’s entire oeuvre is saturated with the indigestibility of pepto bismol. Leibowitz’s art objects, with their bubbly cuteness, evoke an ostensibly whimsical atmosphere that frame and ironically celebrate what at the time, and perhaps even now, were the less sugared topics of mental health, homosexuality, and race. But what does it mean to encounter sweetness when it comes so obviously coupled with bitterness What is or is not easy to swallow about Cary Leibowitz in the 21st century? As we work through these questions of taking in and leaving out through select objects in the exhibition, we will spend time thinking about Leibowitz’s statement: “There are 2 things I will have to watch 4 the rest of my life—my weight and my racism.” In a world of pinkwashing, antiblackness, transphobia, and increasing xenophobia, what might Leibowitz’s work have to teach us about our desires to be fit and woke, about the selves we sugarcoat and the things a contemporary cultural diet just can’t tolerate?

This event is free and open to the public; register here.

Dixon Li is a first-year graduate student in the Department of English at UPenn. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who works primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries with specialities in critical race studies, poetry & poetics, performance studies, film studies, psychoanalytic theory, continental philosophy, and queer and feminist theories. As an artist he is trained as a poet, dancer, choreographer, and performance maker.