Charlie Pig challenges the patriarchy, 2016 by Sharon Hayes

Pigmented inkjet print
11" × 8½" (image); 12¾" × 10¾" (framed)
Edition of 20 with 2 artist’s proofs
Published on the occasion of Triple Canopy’s 2015 benefit
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin
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Triple Canopy is pleased to announce Charlie Pig challenges the patriarchy, a new artwork edition by Sharon Hayes, originally commissioned on the occasion of the magazine’s 2015 benefit honoring choreographer, writer, and visual artist Ralph Lemon.

In this new work for Triple Canopy, Hayes restages an archival photograph from the Hall-Carpenter Archives, a repository for journals, ephemera, and other materials related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activism in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The original photograph was taken by John Chesterman, an activist associated with London’s Gay Liberation Front. It features a child encountering a protester who wears a donkey costume mask—thought to represent the character Bottom from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—at an event organized by the Gay Liberation Front’s street theater group. An incongruous note affixed to the verso of the original photograph, which reads, “Charlie Pig challenges the patriarchy,” provides Hayes’s work with its title. While the original is labeled “Easter Sunday, 1971,” the date inscribed on similar photos from the same collection is “May Day, 1971.” Across the Atlantic, in Washington, DC, May 1, 1971, marked the first of three days of large-scale demonstrations against the Vietnam War, during which more than twelve thousand protesters were arrested.

In Charlie Pig challenges the patriarchy, Hayes explores the political efficacy of visual art and the kinds of encounters produced by archives as collections of objects divorced from their original contexts. Working with a photographer and theater costume designer to recreate the encounter appearing in the original photograph, Hayes reconsiders the relationships that made the image possible. Her use of multiple displacements (as the encounter shifts from being an event to a photograph to a restaging to, again, a photograph) highlights the moment as lived, represented, and, eventually, historicized. Hayes thus underscores the necessity of considering both feeling and fact in interpreting political events.

Working primarily in video, performance, and installation, Hayes began her artistic career in the nineties as part of the downtown New York dance, theater, and performance scene. In her photography, Hayes investigates the relationship between history, politics, and speech. Her multidisciplinary approach borrows from theater, anthropology, and journalism, among other artistic and academic practices. Her work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Artists Space, New York; the Tate Modern, London; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; and the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. In 2010, she was included in the Whitney Biennial as well as MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York.” Hayes’s work was the subject of a 2012 solo exhibition, “There’s So Much I Want to Say to You,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. “In My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You,” a major new commission, is on view at Studio Voltaire, London, through June 2016. Hayes is an associate professor of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

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