Sm{art}: Ginger Brooks Takahashi

Image taken from Takahashi's Myspace page.

I saw Ginger Brooks Takahashi's work in the art auction for the Lesbian Herstory Archive. Although her work spans illustration, multimedia, wall hangings, and music, the themes of sexuality, gender, and community run throughout. (Rabbits also seem to be a motif).

A screenprinted poster from 2004. Image from the New Museum

Whether it's her involvement with the Mobilivre Bookmobile, where a super cute a 1959 Airstream Overlander trailer, interior-redecorated as a mini-zine and book arts store toured the country, or Butch in the Bog, a collaboration with Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, it's clear that aesthetic is as important as community building to her. As she told the New York City News Service, "As an artist, I like to create situations for people to come together and to have an encounter."

One of Takahashi's notable works is an army of lovers cannot fail, where "Powerstich" events are held in homes, galleries, or gardens, and people come together to help stitch a white-on-white quilt while listening to participatory readings on privilege, sex, and gender. Started in 2004, Takahashi breathes new life into the traditional craft and social gathering with its consciousness-raising and untraditional matter. From her artist's statement:

I see the history of family and community quilting as harnessing possibly the foremost political activities: community-building and dialog, creating a sense of belonging for those who participate. The quilting forums are symbolic of the same ideals upheld by my own queer community. While redefining these traditions, an army of lovers cannot fail brings the spirit of this shared experience to an extended community.

Also considering historically outdated modes of production, this quilt has been in progress for over two years, and will require at least one more year to completion. Thankfully, the end product is not the piece, but rather the process—the informal gatherings and invaluable dialog between friends and strangers.

The detail of the quilt is also rather untraditional...

Images from the New Museum's Museum as Hub

She's also a co-founder of the feminist genderqueer art collective LTTR, which "seeks to create and build a context for a culture of critical thinkers whose work not only speaks in dialogue with one another, but consistently challenges its own form by shifting shape and design to best respond to contemporary concerns." They also publish a journal by the same name, and lucky for us, you can check out every issue online.

As a co-worker put it, GRB "rocks my box!" But she gets even cooler: she's released an album with Mirah and part of JD Samson's latest project MEN. Here's the video for their song "Off Our Backs" made by fellow LTTR co-founder K8 Hardy

Check out more of Ginger Brooks Takahashi's work on her own site, her recent work includes "A graphic of the island of lesbos with icons depicting different sites and tourist activities." Yeah!

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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2 Comments Have Been Posted

rox mai box

that's right, i said it. again.

thanks for introducing me to GBT!
love it when social practice and art collide and coalesce.


My box is also rocked. Rock on!

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