You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Studio Art Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Queer Threads, Fall 2020

Visiting Artist Lecture Series:
Queer Threads, Fall 2020

In conjunction with Queer Threads, Curious Spaces — a multi-venue suite of exhibitions in DC this fall — the Art Department and AU Museum present a series of lectures by past, present, proto, and future Queer Threads artists: Paolo Arao, Angela Hennessy, Oliver Herring, T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, and Sheila Pepe. A queering of mediums, each of their practices uniquely merges fiber-based crafts with painting, sculpture, and installation. These lectures will provide a glimpse into studio practices that defy formal expectations and question the function of identity in the making and circulating of art works:

  • T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, September 17, 6 p.m. ET
  • Paolo Arao, October 1, 6 p.m. ET
  • Oliver Herring, October 15, 6 p.m. ET
  • Sheila Pepe, October 29, 6 p.m. ET
  • Angela Hennessy, November 12, 6 p.m. ET

About Queer Threads

Queer Threads is an evolving curatorial project organized by John Chaich that spotlights contemporary LGBTQ artists who are remixing fiber and textile traditions. Since 2014, the group exhibition has traveled from New York, Baltimore, Boston, and San Jose, accompanied by a full color coffee table book designed by Todd Oldham Studio. In fall 2020, a multi-venue suite of solo exhibitions, Queer Threads, Curious Spaces will be organized in Washington, DC, at Transformer, and The Corner at Whitman-Walker.

T.J. Dedeaux-NorrisThursday, September 17,  6 p.m. ET

Register for Dedeaux-Norris

TJ Dedeaux-Norris (fka Tameka Jenean Norris) was born in Guam and received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles before graduating with an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2012. Norris has recently participated in numerous exhibitions and festivals including at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; Yerba Buena Museum, San Francisco, CA; Prospect.3 Biennial, New Orleans, LA; The Walker Museum, Minneapolis, MN; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX; and The Studio Museum, Harlem, NY, Rotterdam Film Festival, Rotterdam,Netherlands, Sundance Film Festival, New York, NY, Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City, IA among many others. Norris has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Fountainhead Residency, Grant Wood Colony Fellowship, and The MacDowell Colony. She is the 2017 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a tenure track Assistant Professor at University of Iowa.

T.J. Dedeaux-Norris
Nina Simone (Mississippi Goddam, 1968), 2019
Reclaimed fabric, bedsheets, tablecloth, acrylic paint, sequins, curtain rod
87 × 88 in

Paolo Aaro
Evolving Quilt Project (ongoing)
Sewn canvas, corduroy, cotton, denim, silk, wool
Currently 125 x 250 inches 

Paolo Arao Thursday, October 1, 6 p.m. ET

Register for Arao

Paolo Arao is a Brooklyn-based, Filipino-American artist working with textiles He received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Arao has shown his work widely and has presented solo exhibitions at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Glass Box in Seattle, Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Franklin Artworks in Minneapolis, Jeff Bailey Gallery and Barney Savage Gallery, both in NYC. Residencies include: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Millay Colony, Studios at MASS MoCA, LES Printshop Keyholder Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Wassaic Artist Residency, NARS Foundation, BRIC Workspace and the Fire Island Artist Residency.


Oliver Herring
Thursday, October 15, 6 p.m. ET

Register for Herring

Oliver Herring was born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1964, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received a BFA from the University of Oxford, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, England, and an MFA from Hunter College, New York. Among Herring’s early works were his woven sculptures and performance pieces in which he knitted Mylar, a transparent and reflective material, into human figures, clothing, and furniture. These ethereal sculptures, which evoke introspection, mortality, and memory, are Herring’s homage to Ethyl Eichelberger, a drag performance artist who committed suicide in 1991. Since 1998, Herring has created stop-motion videos and participatory performances with “off the street” strangers. He makes sets for his videos and performances with minimal means and materials, recycling elements from one artwork to the next.


Oliver Herring
Untitled (Flower for Ethyl Eichelberger), 1991-92
Knit transparent tape
85 x 85” 

Sheila Pepe
Your Granny's Not Square, 2008
Shoelaces, yarn, and hanging hardware
84 x 144 x 42 inches
Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum

Sheila Pepe
Thursday, October 29, 6 p.m. ET

Register for Pepe

Sheila Pepe received a BA from Albertus Magnus College in 1981, a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1983 and a MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University in 1995. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1994 and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in 1984. Pepe has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad in solo and group exhibitions as well as collaborative projects, most recently in Fiber: Sculpture 1960–Present, ICA/Boston, MA, and 
We have never participated: 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China. She has received numerous awards including an
Art Matters Grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist Grant, and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. Her work is held in public collections including the Harvard University Art Museums, Rose Art Museum, and The Smith College Museum of Art.


Angela Hennessy
Thursday, Nov 12, 6 p.m. ET

Register for Hennessy

Angela Hennessy is an Oakland-based artist and Associate Professor at California College of the Arts where she teaches courses on visual and cultural narratives of death and contemporary art. Through writing, studio work, and performance her practice examines mythologies of blackness embedded in linguistic metaphors of color and cloth. Last fall her work was featured in a solo exhibition When and where I enter at Southern Exposure. Her work has been exhibited at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, The Growlery, Bellevue Arts Museum, Exit Art, Southern Exposure, The Richmond Art Center, The Small Gallery, and The Oakland Museum of California.

Angela Hennessy
Black Rainbow
, 2017
Crocheted synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, LED light strip, frame
10' x 15' x 5'