Justin Vivian Bond and More to Respond to Zoe Leonard's I WANT A PRESIDENT on the High Line

Justin Vivian Bond and More to Respond to Zoe Leonard's I WANT A PRESIDENT on the High LinePresented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art has announced an afternoon of readings and performances in response to Zoe Leonard's I want a president (1992), which is currently on view on the western pillar of The Standard, High Line, through November 17, 2016.

Participants include Morgan Bassichis, Justin VivIan Bond, Mel Elberg, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, ShaRon Hayes, Layli Long Soldier, Fred Moten, Eileen Myles, Pamela Sneed, and Wu Tsang.

The event is free with RSVP and open to the public. RSVP available here.

Installed on the occasion of the upcoming 2016 U.S. presidential election, I want a president renders a poignant portrait of the cultural and political climate in the early 1990s in New York City with words that still resonate today. The text, which Leonard originally wrote in 1992, the year that poet Eileen Myles ran for president as an independent candidate alongside George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot, has been read, translated, and reimagined by various groups in the context of numerous political elections in the U.S. and abroad. While Leonard says that I want a president is not the text that she would write today, she is interested in the ways in which it asks: What is different today, and what remains the same?

"I am interested in the space this text opens up for us to imagine and voice what we want in our leaders, and even beyond that, what we can envision for the future of our society," says Leonard. "I still think that speaking up is itself a vital and powerful political act." Read more about I want a president here.

Morgan Bassichis performs live comedic stories that explore history, mysticism, and just, like, being alive. Morgan has performed at Artists Space, New Museum, PARTICIPANT INC, Poetry Project, Whitney Museum of American Art, and as part of the 2015 Greater New York exhibition at MoMA PS1. Bassichis's essays have appeared in the Radical History Review, Captive Genders, and other edited volumes. Bassichis's shows have been described as "out there" (by Bassichis's mother) and "super intense" (by Bassichis).

Mx Justin VivIan Bond is a trans-genre artist living in New York City. As a performer both on and Off-Broadway, Mx Bond has received numerous accolades winning an Obie (2001), a Bessie (2004), a Tony nomination (2007), the Ethyl Eichelberger Award (2007), The Peter Reed Foundaton Grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant for Artists. V authored the Lambda Literary Award winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels (The Feminist Press, 2011).

Mel Elberg believes in the existence and value of many different kinds of thinking and interaction, in a world in which how close you can appear to a certain one of them determines whether you're seen as a Real Person, or an adult, or an intelligent person, and in a world in which these determine whether you have any rights.

Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade are artists based in New York. Since 2000, they have performed and exhibited extensively with their collective My Barbarian, whose show The Audience is Always Right, is currently on view at the New Museum. They make solo and duo projects, as well. Gaines is assistant professor of Performance Studies at NYU and Segade is co-chair of MFA Film/Video at Bard College.

ShaRon Hayes lives and works in New York City. Hayes is engaged in an art practice that uses multiple mediums-video, performance, and installation-in ongoing investigation into various intersections between history, politics and speech. Hayes's work has been presented internationally at institutions including Baltimore Museum of Art (2015), Stedelijk Museum (2013), Whitney Museum of Art (2012), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2012), Museum of Modern art (2012), SF MOMA (2011), ICA, Philadelphia (2010), and Tate Modern (2007).


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