Trigger: Nayland Blake
Hi. My name is Nayland Blake.
I was born in 1960 in New York City and grew up looking at a lot of cartoons and toys. Each of the works in the show uses toys and stuffed animals to talk about the ways that we construct images and identities for ourselves through play and through inhabiting objects. The booths are reminiscent of the booths in peep shows in times square, a place I use to habit in the mid-70s as an adolescent, as a young queer person. And that idea of how do we balance intimacy and public presentation is one that has always been important to my work. I think that we understand ourselves and our sexuality through stories that we tell ourselves and often those stories get their start in things that we encounter in childhood.
The performance and piece crossing object is me performing almost as a literal stuffed animal. That is going to be available for encounters with visitors in the public spaces of the museum. And what I’m asking people to do while the performance is going on is to take a small, artificial flower from a basket that I will have, tell that flower a secret and then attach that flower to my costume. And so by the end of the show Gnomen, the character that I will be portraying will be the bearer of multiple secrets from the people who visited over the course of the show.