Alexander D’Agostino: A Shrine to the Forgotten
Exhibition Dates: April 22 – July 15
Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, May 12, 7-10PM
Performance: Friday, June 9
Torpedo Factory Art Center presents the Target Gallery 2023 solo exhibition recipient, Alexander D’Agostino with “A Shrine to the Forgotten“. Alexander’s visual and performance works often become requiems for those Witch-hunted and accused for disrupting the “moral fabric” of society, who’s stories are often packed away in some forgotten storage facility of collective memory. In this exhibition Alexander invites the viewer to imagine the discovery of missing pages of a sixteenth century book of spells, along with other documents and objects found in the Torpedo Factory when it was vacant after being used as a storage facility for the FBI and Smithsonian Institute. This site specific installation in the Target Gallery consists of large textile prints, artist books, and sculptural works that explore hidden and erased stories, witch-hunts, book-bans, and “don’t say gay” bills that will tie the Torpedo Factory’s unique history with Alexander’s practice of engaging spaces with queer history, myth-making, and ritual.
Alexander will also be having a virtual talk about artistic research with the Folger Shakespeare Library with Folger fellow Mindy Stricke on Tuesday, June 6 at 6PM. Register for the talk HERE.
View Online Catalog
About the Artist:
Alexander D’Agostino is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher based in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009 with a BFA in painting. He investigates the queer and otherworldly through dance, ritual, teaching, and visual art. His work has been presented at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, VisArts in Rockvillle, Maryland, the Center of Contemporary Art of Afghanistan in Kabul, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Chashama’s summer performance series in Manhattan, Itinerant Performance Art Festival at the Queens Museum, the Walter’s Art Museum, Transformer DC, the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington Spring 2022 Solo Exhibitions, and most recently Siren Arts Summer Performance Series. He is currently an Artist Research Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.
About the Jury Panel:
Hoesy Corona is an uncategorized queer Latinx artist of Mexican descent living and working in the United States. He creates work across a variety of media spanning installation, performance, and video. He develops otherworldly narratives centering marginalized individuals in society by exploring a process-based practice that investigates what it means to be a queer Latinx immigrant in a place where there are few. He choreographs large scale performances and installations that oftentimes silently confront and delight viewers with some of the most pressing issues of our time. Reoccurring themes of queerness, race/class/gender, nature, isolation, celebration, and the climate crisis are present throughout his work. Hoesy has exhibited widely in galleries, museums, and public spaces in the United States and abroad.
Hoesy lived in Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin, before moving to Baltimore, MD in 2005 to establish a professional practice in the arts. He is a recent GKFF Artist Fellow 2019 & 2020 in Tulsa, OK. And is a former Halcyon Arts Lab Fellow 2017-2018 in Washington, DC. He is a current Nicholson Project Artist in Residence in SouthEast DC and is a resident artist at The Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD where he lives and works.
Laila Abdul-Hadi Jadallah is a seasoned arts administrator, writer and exhibition producer, and curator with more than 15 years of experience. She is the Director of Programs at the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC), where she oversees the overall strategic and executive direction of QAIC programs and exhibitions. Prior to joining QAIC, she was the inaugural Managing Director of Washington Studio School and has previously held senior-level positions at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Art Fraud Insights, and International Arts and Artists, where she worked with numerous arts and cultural partners to lead communications, program development and manage more than 20 major exhibitions. As an independent art consultant and arts writer, she has worked with numerous organizations, partners, and artists to produce or curate exhibitions and programs.
Past projects include curating Art In Isolation: Creativity In the Time of Covid-19 (Middle East Institute, 2020/2021) and Through Their Eyes: Moments Photographed by Syrian Children (US Fund for UNICEF, 2017), and producing Tania El-Khoury’s Gardens Speak (Middle East Institute/National Building Museum, 2016). As a researcher, Jadallah is interested in cultural diplomacy; the alternative histories and contributions of diaspora communities from the Middle East and North Africa to the art historical canon; and the new visual languages introduced by contemporary MENA artists’. Her most recent projects include curating More Than Your Eyes Can See: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World an exhibition organized in partnership with Tribe Magazine at the Middle East Institute.
She has presented about her work, the role of arts in education, and as a tool for social change and cultural diplomacy at programs organized by Montgomery College, The Middle East Institute, ArtTable, Inc., Hillyer Art Space, and the College Arts Association Annual Meeting. She recently served on the Executive Committee of the Washington, D.C.-region chapter of ArtTable, Inc. and co-chaired State of Art5/DC: A Conversation at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2019). Jadallah is a member of ArtTable Inc., Arts Administrators of Color, the Brokering Intercultural Exchange Group, and Museum HUE. She was in the inaugural cohort at Georgetown’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics’ Student Fellows program (2020/2021) and a 2017 and 2019 D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellow.
Claudia Watts has been a lover and patron of the arts since childhood. In 2016, Claudia assumed the role of strategic planning and partnerships at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum (ACM). In this role, she co-authored the museum’s case for revitalization with the formerdirector Lori D. Yarrish. Claudia also worked with community organizations, educational institutions, and artists to create programs that supported museum initiatives. She collaborated with ESPN’s The Undefeated to produce an All-Star 2018 pop-up exhibition and developed a community documentation program for teens that received funding from Coca-Cola. She also commissioned artist, Adrienne Gaither, to create a mural inspired by ACM’s collection for the newly renovated community lounge. In December of 2020 Claudia accepted a new position as the Director of Culture at Eaton Hotel.In addition to her work in the arts, she served as the Managing Editor of the Washington Informer’s Bridge Magazine, an arts and culture-focused publication, from 2018 – 2020. Claudia continues to freelance as an arts writer and curatorial consultant.
Claudia received her B.B.A. with a concentration in marketing from the Howard University School of Business in 2010 and her M.S. in marketing from the University of Maryland Global Campus in 2019. She will attend American University as the Caroly Small Alper fellow in fall of 2022 while pursuing her M.A. in Art History.
Alexander D’Agostino, Queer Shroud Grid, 2023. | Photo by Cat Pierce for the City of Alexandria
Target Gallery Presents “A Shrine to the Forgotten” by Alexander D’ Agostino
A Spell of Remembrance through Performance Art and Installation
Exhibition: Saturday, April 22, 2023 – Saturday, July 15, 2023
Contact: Daisha Windham, Arts Associate
Email: [email protected]
April 26, 2023 – Alexandria, Va. –Torpedo Factory Art Center celebrates the opening of “A Shrine to the Forgotten” in Target Gallery – a solo exhibition created by Alexander D’Agostino, an interdisciplinary artist and teacher based in Baltimore, Maryland. D’Agostino was selected as the Art Center’s 2023 solo exhibition artist by jurors Hoesy Corona, Laila Jadallah, and Claudia Watts. The intriguing debut is inspired by D’Agostino’s Artist Research Fellowship at the Shakespeare Folger Library to explore the reimaging of magic and rituals outlined in the 16th Century Book of Magic, while considering the beliefs and needs of the LGBTQ community in modern society.
“As an artist working with queer histories and images, my practice includes reclaiming material from queer archives and cultural resources related to the historic marginalization of all LGBTQ people combined with personal mythmaking and rituals to pay homage to our ancestors through posthumous liberation,” stated Alexander D’Agostino. “My visual and performatives works serves as a parallel universe of queer culture and those who are wrongfully witch-hunted for disrupting the moral fabric of society, whose stories are often suppressed in an abandoned storage facility of collective memories.”
Through extensive research, D’Agostino discovered there were 14 pages missing from the 16th Century Book of Magic with no evidence of where the written material is located, igniting the curiosity of probable alternatives. All artwork from the debut exhibition demonstrates the possibility that the missing pages were hidden in the former torpedo factory munitions plant when used as a storage facility for the Federal Government, before it was transformed into the Art Center.
The performative art and installations will consist of large textiles murals, installations, artist books, and sculptural works that abstractly examines hidden and erased stories, witch hunts, book bans, and “don’t say gay” bills.
Visitors will view several variations of artworks based on the16th Century Book of Magic and D’Agostino’s personal ritual practices as collages with images sourced from the National Archives of the Art Center building when it was used as a federal records center shortly after World War II, as well as a documented witch hunts and archived of vintage explicit adult content discovered at an antique shop in Baltimore. “A Shrine to the Forgotten” is dedicated to dispelling the misinformation and fear of the divisive political landscape to empower the presence of LGBTQ’s existence throughout history. The exhibition strongly celebrates the magic, queerness, and the power of the hidden and mysterious – but never forgotten.
Torpedo Factory Art Center encourages visitors to exercise discretion due to the exhibition displaying nudity and adult content that may elicit a range of viewer responses.
The exhibition runs Saturday, April 22, 2023 – Saturday July 15, 2023, with a reception on May 12, and a solo performance featuring D’Agostino on June 9, in the Grand Hall (1st Floor).
Torpedo Factory Art Center is located at 105 North Union Street. For more information regarding the opening of “A Shrine to the Forgotten” exhibition, visit torpedofactory.org/soloexhibition.
About Target Gallery
Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space for the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The gallery promotes high standards of art by continuously exploring new ideas through a variety of visual media in a rotating schedule of national and international exhibitions. More information is available via torpedofactory.org/target
About the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the nation’s largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios under one roof. Just south of Washington, D.C., the Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va. Each year, more than a half million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 82 studios and seven galleries. For more information, visit torpedofactory.org or follow the Art Center on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest via @torpedofactory.
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