Queer Histories

10.4 –5. 2023
11 AM – 4:30PM

Queer Histories is the third in a series of seminars that anticipates MASP’s program devoted to the subject throughout 2024. C. Ondine Chavoya, Carlos Motta, E. Patrick Johnson, Érica Sarmet, Jeffrey Gibson, Grupo Mexa and Luiza Brunah, Lux Ferreira Lima, Mel Y. Chen, Nancy Garín Guzmán, Nicolas Cuello, Olivia K. Young, Tavia Nyong’o, Virginia de Medeiros, and Vi Grunwald took part in the first one, held in 2021. abigail Campos Leal, Bruno Oliveira, Cynthia Shuffer, Danieli Balbi, Erica Malunguinho, Fernando Davis, Jamal Batts, Karol Radziszewski, Mahmoud Khaled, Monica Benicio, and Remom Bortolozzi took part in the second one, held in 2022. The program furthers MASP’s mission as a diverse, inclusive, and plural museum, promoting critical and creative dialogues between past and present through visual arts. In Portuguese, diversity is a word inextricably linked to queer identities and gender diversity, and the idea of histories—unlike History—is more open, multivocal, unfinished, and non-totalizing, encompassing not only historical accounts but personal stories, tales, and fictional narratives. A two-day event, the seminar addresses subjects such as queer/trans activism, a reimagined public sphere, and LGBTQIA+ social movements, all connected to visual culture and artistic practices.

Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, MASP; André Mesquita, Curator, MASP; David Ribeiro, Curatorial Assistant, MASP, and Julia Bryan-Wilson, Curator-at-Large of Modern and Contemporary Art, MASP.

The seminar will be broadcast online for free on MASP’s YouTube profile, with simultaneous translation into Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), English and Portuguese.

To obtain a participation certificate, you must sign up via a link provided during the seminar. Certificates will be sent only to the registered e-mails of those who attend the two-day seminar.



11 AM

Adriano Pedrosa, Artistic Director, MASP
11:10 AM – 1 PM
Cholas Virgins

The talk will address the braids, potatoes, noses, and stains that overflow and fall on creatures with penises and high-heeled shoes. Everything is part of the same chaotic and necessary landscape, a large battlefield where dancing may mean both struggle and leisure. It will also address the process of the bread works, the performative aspect related to watercolors (materiality). It will also reflect on Argentina being a non-white country and structured on racism against brown and indigenous people.
Yesterday, Today, Everyday

Yesterday explores the relevance of mythology in modern times with a series of comics/ graphic novels. It will consist of an anthology that will explore stories from the past narrated by Transgender people living across India. With this exploration, the project hopes to archive cultural nuances like historical facts, traditional practices, and oral stories passed from generation to generation within the Transgender community. The tryst is also to shine a little light on the dichotomy of gender-based violence in a setup where some worship a Trans person as a Goddess. Today explores the relevance of revolution, coming together with unheard stories of survival, love, struggles, betrayals, and most importantly overcoming all the challenges that society imposes on being and becoming trans by attempting to make these into podcast episodes about trans lives in modern India. Everyday explores day-to-day lives and responses from people from the Transgender community towards everyday misogyny and discrimination.
Artificial Intelligence for a Non-existent Queer Archive

The talk addresses the artistic project Un archivo queer inexistente [A Non-existent Queer Archive] (2023), made up of fictitious photographs of homosexual couples and queer or non-binary people in Latin America in the early 20th century, created by artificial intelligence. As the queer critic José Esteban Muñoz said, one of heteronormative culture’s outcomes is that the past queer experience has left no record or cannot be archived. This denial of recording is even more dramatic for people from the Global South and the working classes. Thus, the artistic proposal to create this denied archive is a kind of “retrofuturist” exercise, which uses computer algorithms to reimagine our local queer past and claim an archive that could never exist. The result is a set of images that are strangely moving and affecting, plausible at first, but which, upon closer inspection, reveal the—deeply queer—imperfections of a still-developing technology.
Mediation: David Ribeiro, Curatorial Assistant, MASP

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
The Coming-out of Architecture

Interpreting the works of artists in the context of their private biographies has long been common practice in the history of art, music, film, and literature. It goes without saying that the sexual identity of artists may also be taken into account. Indeed, it must sometimes even find its way into the interpretation: What would we understand about the art of David Hockney, the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky, the films of Luchino Visconti, or the works of Thomas Mann, for example, without knowledge of their homosexuality? What has long been an undisputed standard in other disciplines is still a taboo in architectural studies. Even in recent accounts of architects of the past, their homosexuality is often completely ignored, thus knowingly accepting the danger of misinterpretation. It is high time for a coming-out of architecture!
A Dance with Death is a Dance with Living: Adam Pendleton’s What Is Your Name?

A study of Adam Pendleton’s 2020 film about choreographer and dancer Kyle Abrahams, What Is Your Name: Kyle Abraham’s, A Portrait, this talk meditates upon the dance with death that animates and complicates queer and Black being, reflecting on the dynamics of queer love and loss that shape the art of living with grief.
Nongayindoda: On the Intersection Between Arts, Activism and Queerness

This talk explores the concept of Nongayindoda, which offers a lens that moves beyond the Western conceptualization of gender. Drawing from visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga and poet Mthunzikazi A. Mbungwana, I employ a queer aesthetic that simultaneously negates and affirms the possibilities of being in and out of existence. In this return to Nongayindoda, I offer an alternative lens to how queer Africans can imagine their activism in a continent increasingly becoming anti-queer.

Mediation: Daniela Rodrigues, Curatorial Assistant, MASP

2 PM – 4 PM
The History and Challenges of LGBTQ+ Rights in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s LGBTQ+ community has a long history of activism, associated with human rights, feminist, and civic movements early on. While the Hong Kong Bill of Rights ordinance protects against sexual orientation discrimination by government and public authorities, there is no government support for gay rights or anti-discrimination initiatives. The 2020 national security law has led to the closure of human rights and democracy organizations, posing challenges to the community. Hong Kong is following in China’s footsteps, where gay rights are not recognized. Despite this, the LGBTQ+ community in Hong Kong has made progress, with the first LGBTQ+ exhibition Myth Makers—Spectrosynthesis III Hong Kong (2022), and the Gay Games (2023). This presentation will provide an overview of the history of LGBTQ+ rights activism in Hong Kong and the current challenges faced by the community.
Excavating African Queer Histories from A Ugandan Location

Given Uganda’s recent criminalization of the production and distribution of knowledge about homosexuality, what are the possibilities of generating, curating, and sharing any bodies of queer knowledge from this national context? How is it possible to locate, situate, excavate, extricate, and explicate queer histories from contexts in which the very act of queer knowledge production is criminalized and severely penalized? Drawing from Zanele Muholi’s (2015) conceptual distinction between “visual art” and “visual activism”, I advance the idea that continuing to generate creative, critical, scholarly, and journalistic forms of queer knowledge from criminalizing contexts (including Uganda), is a matter of urgent resistance against homophobic attacks threatening to shut down academic freedom, free expression, and artistic license. Practically enacting this political program of queer dissidence, I sample, present, and analyze photographic collections of five photographers (David Robinson, Frederic Noy, Keiji Fujimoto, Sumy Sadurni, and Delovie Kwagala) who represented diverse Ugandan LGBTIQA+ individuals and communities.
What Is the Place of LGBTQIA+ Memories in Brazilian Society?

Throughout history, LGBTQIA+ people have had their memories made invisible, ensuring them the right not to have rights. We will reflect on the processes of invisibilization and erasure of non-normative individuals in museums and memory spaces and how this enables prejudice and violence. We want to present some community strategies developed by the Brazilian LGBTQIA+ community. Finally, this talk will discuss the limits and potential of dissident memories in Brazil.

Mediation: André Mesquita, Curator, MASP


The project, with its modalities of collaborating and creating along with the people from the transgender community, ensures to excavate the wisdom they have inculcated over the years. By diving deep into their culture and traditional practices, the project examines their spaces of innovation and the places of their history, and creates new spaces by transforming this knowledge into art. By bringing the nuances of trans lives, narratives, and lived experiences to the forefront of their fight, we aim to embrace the people from the transgender community by creating consciousness, awareness, and social participation through the arts.
A Hong Kong artist, began her career working behind the scenes doing sound mixing and creating photo collages. She later started making art with Super 8 and Video 8 while working in the field of medical imaging. Pau co-founded Videotage, an independent artist collective, in 1986, and the Microwave New Media Art Festival in 1996. Her work explores themes of gender and identity. She received an ACC award in 1992 and represented Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale in 2001. One of her notable LGBTQ works, Song of the Goddess, explored the lives of classical Cantonese opera singers. She was a jury member at the Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.
Chilean visual artist, essayist, and sexual dissident activist. He holds a Ph.D. in Art from the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia. His work emerges from the intersection between queer criticism, archives, and the Global South’s technologies. His works belong to public and private collections such as the Museo Reina Sofía (Spain), the 21c Museum (USA), the Fundación AMA (Chile), and the MAC de Chile, among others. He is co-founder of the Colectivo Universitario de Disidencia Sexual, CUDS (2002-2019) and author of the book Internet, mon amour: infecciones queer/cuir entre lo digital y lo material (Écfrasis Ediciones, 2019).
Professor of Performance Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University and author of two award-winning books: After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life and A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America; co-editor of José Esteban Muñoz’s The Sense of Brown, with Tavia Nyong’o, and of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s China Trilogy: Three Parables of Global Capital, with Christine Mok; and co-editor of the NYU Press’ Sexual Cultures series with Tavia Nyong’o and Ann Pellegrini. Chambers-Letson currently works on a monograph about the art of queer love and loss and is presently the 2022-2023 Thinker in Residence with the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation.
A multidisciplinary artist who produces and creates performances, photo-performances, video art, photographs, paintings, drawings, and objects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo and has trained in a non-institutional level with artists of her interest. She was part of the Artists Program at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (2018), the Arte Foco program at Museo Marco (2018), the Laboratorio de Acción at Complejo Teatral Buenos Aires (2019). She has took part in group and solo exhibitions, including La Marca Original, Esercizi del Pianto, SLAVE, Eros Risin and, most recently, the solo show Pap Art at the Kunsthalle Lissabon in Portugal. She has received awards such as Banco Ciudad 2022 and was chosen Artist of the Year 2023 by Deutsche Bank.
A scholarship-holder of the Writers-in-Exile program of PEN Zentrum Deutschland, and associate of NRF/SARChI Chair of African Feminist Imagination at Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies. She obtained a Ph.D. from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, an MSc. in Medical Anthropology from University College London, and a BA in Mass Communication and Literature from Makerere University. In her research, she specializes in Queer African Studies, African Feminism, Dissidence Studies, and sexual and reproductive health rights. She is also a poet, activist, and politician belonging to Uganda’s opposition political party, called Forum for Democratic Change.
Museologist and psychoanalyst. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication (2022), a Master’s degree in Anthropology (2017), and a Bachelor’s degree in Museology (2015); he also specializes in Cultural Management (2019) and Psychoanalysis (2023). Since 2011, he has taken part in and developed teaching, research, and extension projects related to vulnerable Brazilian populations. He is the editor of Memórias LGBTQIA+ magazine and coordinator of the Rede LGBTQIA+ de Memória e Museologia Social.
He studied architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. He then worked as a research assistant at the German Architecture Museum (DAM) in Frankfurt, Germany. From 2008 to 2017, he was editor, and from 2017 to 2020, deputy editor-in-chief of the German architecture journal AIT. In 2015, he received his Ph.D. in architectural history and historic preservation. Currently, he teaches at both the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. He researches and publishes on 19th and 20th-century architecture, as well as on topics of queer architecture.
Zethu Matebeni is the South Africa Research Chair in Sexualities, Genders, and Queer Studies at the University of Fort Hare. Zethu has significantly contributed to the development of African queer studies through numerous published volumes, essays, articles, poetry, films, and exhibitions.