Coming out

Queer Artist Sam Kirk to represent Chicago at Miami’s International Art Basel Show

Sam-Kirk_Scope-Branded_Lesbian-Gothic_-Art-Basel-Miami_Sam-Kirk_2014_fullSam Kirk splits her time between Chicago and Brooklyn, but she will be representing her hometown of Chicago this December during an exhibit with Red Bull at SCOPE for Miami’s annual Art Basel International showcase. Sam Kirk and Tubs are the two artists who received the curatorial vote during the Chicago Red Bull Canvas Cooler, and Joseph “Sentrock” Perez was later selected as the people’s choice vote. This win afforded them the chance to unveil their latest work at Art Basel, an honor for artists of all dominions. Among her paintings to be exhibited is a piece titled “Lesbian Gothic” which provides a modern twist on the historical “American Gothic” painting. The piece focuses on the pairing of the familiar individuals and an intentional empty background. As the US is currently in a state of conflict over the rights of LGBT people, Kirk chose to highlight the relationship of Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker. She chose these figures because of the decisions they madeto take the road less traveled. These iconic women shattered societal norms and what was traditionally expected of them- through the arts and throughout the world. Both Frida and Josephine emerged out of the darkness of their past to ignite the passion between themselves romantically; through others intellectually, politically, visually with fervor.

Opening a studio in New York was a decision Sam made to help further her studies of different cultures. As a result of this process, she has unexpectedly found herself opening up more about her sexual identity, something she hadn’t expressed in her work since she was a teenager. “I didn’t realize how much I was working to celebrate every other culture except the one that I lived and breathe every day.”  – Sam Kirk

In some of her recent work, you can definitely see her exploration of identity starting to be expressed. For National Coming Out Day, Kirk released an art piece showing two girls kissing. Shortly before that a painting titled “What it really feels like” which discusses what it has often felt like for her in a same sex relationship, and possibly part of the reason why this side of her has been silenced in her work. “In our country, we deal with religious zealots and traditional beliefs that don’t accept us or views that inappropriately hyper-sexualizes us. It is not enjoyable and is very limiting.” – Sam Kirk


This progression is one that you can expect to see much more of, from Sam. She will be creating works about her personal experiences and the stories of others in the LGBT community. If you are in Miami this December, stop by the SCOPE E11 booth to take a look at her latest collection and keep an eye out for upcoming exhibits in 2015.

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