‘To Know That There Were Lesbians Before Us Was So Immense’: Artists Joan E. Biren (JEB), Lola Flash, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden on Lesbian Visibility
ArtNews, July 3, 2019

By Maximilíano Durón

In June, as part of Pride Month, ARTnews hosted a panel titled “Picturing Herstory: Queer Artists on Lesbian Visibility,” in partnership with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, at Spring Place in New York. For the panel, ARTnews convened artists Joan E. Biren (JEB), Lola Flash, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden to discuss how they began making art, why it’s important to center people who have historically been excluded from the mainstream, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

McClodden is a Philadelphia-based visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019, and her work is currently on view in the 2019 Whitney Biennial in New York.

Flash uses photography to challenge gender, sexual, and racial norms and stereotypes. Her work is in the collections of Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Brooklyn Museum. In 2018, she had a career retrospective at Pen + Brush in New York, and her work is currently on view in a solo show at Autograph in London, and in the “Art After Stonewall, 1969–1989” exhibition at the Leslie-Lohman and the Grey Art Gallery.

JEB is an internationally recognized documentarian, artist, and activist who began chronicling the lives of feminists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in 1971. She is the author of two groundbreaking volumes of lesbian photography and her slideshow, Lesbian Images and Photography, 1850 to the Present, also known as the “Dyke Show,” is considered a seminal work within the history of queer art. She was commissioned to create the Leslie-Lohman’s 2019 “QUEERPOWER” window work, and her art is in six major exhibitions timed to the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

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