The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art presents Coyote Park: I Love You Like Mirrors Do. The exhibition explores multi-disciplinary artist Coyote Park’s deep bonds – between loved ones, lands of origin, diasporas, and queer, trans and Indigenous kin – creating spaces of togetherness and liberation. Informed by LGBTQIA+ visual histories, I Love You Like Mirrors Do began with the artist’s research on figurative pairs across the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s collection, from silver prints by fin de siècle Prussian photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden, to erotic drawings by twentieth-century Japanese artist Goh Mishima, to the celebration of queer, Black love by contemporary South African artist Zanele Muholi. Gestures, backdrops, props, and other visual elements from collection works are borrowed and interpreted in Park’s tableaux, which centers on the artist’s own constellation of relationships and intimate entanglements.
As a Two-spirit, Indigenous (Yurok), Korean-American artist, Park works to expand the spectrum of queer representation, noting that “we are always looking for ourselves in art.” They embrace photography’s unique capacity for world-building: the single frame that still photography affords the viewer hovers in time, documenting ephemera and energetic connections between the artist’s past lovers, current partners, and those they hold close. In Park’s process of collaborative image-making, they capture the unspoken understandings of how they see and are seen, and the dynamic fluidity of both: a process underscored by the exhibition’s title. Through objects, gestures, and form, I Love You Like Mirrors Do iterates images of the self in relation to others: a self that is not intrinsic or inherent, but continually negotiated and produced. Park envisions love dynamics, lived and represented, as reflective and contingent. We are all mirrored refractions of one another.
Park’s is the first exhibition in The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s Interventions series which engages LGBTQIA+ artists and cultural producers to dive into the Museum’s collection and creatively present their research, building new narratives and interpretations from diverse subjectivities. The Interventions series offers a unique platform for public access to the Museum’s artworks, establishing a new avenue for showcasing the expansive and historical collection that Leslie-Lohman has acquired over five decades.
The end result is a dialogue, representing the shared histories and lived realities that influence the LGBTQIA+ community of today and the future.
I Love You Like Mirrors Do marks Park’s first ever museum exhibition. “The Museum is proud to support this pivotal moment in Park’s trajectory as an artist,” says Alyssa Nitchun, Executive Director at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art. “Their ability to contextualize works from our collection and to offer a contemporary, intersectional perspective is acutely significant to Leslie-Lohman as a space that affirms and engages the past, present and future realities of LGBTQIA+ lives.”
“In these photographs, as with mirrors, the ocean and with my loved ones, my gender is a prism: it changes color based on the light refracted through it,” says the artist Coyote Park. “As I say to a lover in the film created for the exhibition, ‘I am not just the strength of my body, I am not the amount of hair, the deepness of my voice, I am not just read as boy or girl. I am not what a public perception projects on me.’ The film’s addition to the photographic work serves as a living organ of many voices: an ephemeral experience of memories between me and the loved ones in the photographs (Tee Jaehyung Park, River Gallo, Kaliko Aiu, Em Grotton, Ke’ron J. Wilson, Hercules Goss-Kuehn, and Bones Tan Jones).”
“It has been extraordinary working with Coyote Park for this first iteration of Interventions,” says Stamatina Gregory, Chief Curator at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art. “Their process of research into LLMA’s collection, and their deployment of formal references within this new body of work has been playful, open, and intuitive. But more critically, these works are a reclamation: they move our queer visual histories toward more inclusive and radical forms of relation.”
The exhibition also features a section of artworks from the Museum’s collection from which Park drew inspiration. Featured pieces include artwork by Goh Mishima, Leah Michaelson, Li Ming Shun, Luigi & Luca, Marcelina Martin, Marion Pinto, Tee A. Corrine, Wilhelm von Gloeden, Yannis Nomikos, and Zanele Muholi.
About The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art provides a platform for artistic exploration through multi-faceted queer perspectives. We embrace the power of the arts to inspire, explore, and foster understanding of the rich diversity of LGBTQIA+ experiences. We aim to be a home for queer art, artists, scholars, activists and allies, and a catalyst for discourse on art and queerness. With a collection of over 25,000 objects and a research library of over 3,000 volumes, the Museum fosters experimentation and research through exhibitions, programs, educational platforms, and publications.
Coyote Park : I Love You Like Mirrors Do
Through July 16th, 2023
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013