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Huxtable, Julianafree

American, 21st century, female.

Active in New York.

Born 29 December 1987, in Bryan-College Station (Texas).

Mixed media artist, poet, writer. Sculpture, portraiture, text and word art.

Born as an intersex individual, Juliana Huxtable was raised in a conservative Baptist family as Julian in the Bible Belt town of Bryan-College Station, Texas. Huxtable completed her degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Literature at Bard College in upstate New York in 2010. She moved to New York soon after, and quickly became a major presence as she began to focus more intently on her visual and written practices. Huxtable is also an actor, DJ, model, and published author who has released a book of poetry, essays, and prose, entitled Mucus in My Pineal Gland. Like many other contemporary artists, Juliana’s life and art making transcends conventional categories of media usage and a specifically tailored practice.

Huxtable works in a variety of mediums, but most notably through portraiture and text. Some of her work has featured her body painted in saturated and acidic hues, posed as a Nuwaubian princess: a powerful, goddess-like figure derived from the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a quasi-cult of Islam and UFO lore. She cites ‘diaristic impulses’ as a major motivator behind her work, rendering herself as mythical, beautiful women she has envisioned and designed since her childhood. Huxtable notably created a stir at the 2015 New Museum Triennial, as both a participating artist and as the muse and model for the work Juliana (2015), by Frank Benson. The work is a life-sized sculpture of her nude body, created through 3-D scanning software, and printed in shimmering, iridescent plastic, reflecting her painted body in the self-portraits installed near the sculpture. Reminiscent of the hermaphroditic sculptures from ancient Greece, she is fully aware of her visual impact and looks out to steadily meet the viewer’s gaze. This work was lauded as a concrete, physical representation of trans and intersex bodies that have increasingly come under political scrutiny and pointed attack in America.

As an artist and public persona, Huxtable represents several places of intersection and marginalised populations in American society. As a black, intersex individual, Huxtable’s work provides a concrete and powerful representation of misunderstood bodies and people who face physical harm and intimidation simply for their existence. Huxtable has spoken out about her struggles with identity when she was younger, and the ongoing creation of her own mythology surrounding her identity and physical form sends a powerful message of beauty and acceptance.

Group Exhibitions

2014, Frieze Projects, London

2014, MoMA PS1, New York

2014, White Columns, New York

2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2015, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

2015, Museum of Modern Art, New York

2015, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

2016, Human Resources, Los Angeles

2016, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival, Portland, OR

Solo Exhibitions

2015, Juliana Huxtable: There Are Certain Facts that Cannot Be Disputed, Museum of Modern Art, New York

2017, Split During Laughter at the Rally, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York

Museum and Gallery Holdings

New York (MoMA)

Bibliography