Kalup Linzy: Conversations wit de Churen V: As da Art World Might Turn

August 31–December 1, 2019

Conversations wit de Churen V is part of an ongoing series that Kalup Linzy (American, b. 1977) developed while still in graduate school at the University of South Florida in 2003. In this series, Linzy combines elements of Def Comedy Jam, Tyler Perry’s “Madea” character, and the early films of John Waters and Andy Warhol with the inherent drama of the soap opera genre. The title, a satirical play on All My Children and As the World Turns, sets the humorous and absurd tone of the piece.

As Linzy explains, humor and popular art forms are central to his work:

I love satire, and I love what I satirize. Yes, satire can be used as political propaganda to demoralize and dehumanize, but that’s not what I’m doing. I am role-playing, satirizing, and paying tribute at the same time to the genre of the soap opera. I also want to keep people coming back to my work. Those who enjoy it and follow it know there is always another episode around the corner.

As da Art World Might Turn tells the story of Katonya, a rising star in the art world about to have her first gallery show. In the video, Katonya, a cross-dressing alter ego of the artist, learns “how to deal with the economics of the art world.” Linzy makes evident the artifice of the character by wearing a cheap wig and no makeup, having visible body hair, and overacting like a soap opera star. As a result, Katonya’s melodramatic, satirical, and unequivocal queer performance shows how racial and sexual stereotypes are also artificial and constructed.

read the press release

shown: Kalup Linzy (American, b. 1977) Conversations wit da Churen V: As da Art World Might Turn, 2006 (still, detail) Image provided courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. Thelma M. Knapp Fund.