Los Atravesados/ The Skin Of The Earth Is Seamless

Artist: Troy Michie
painting, miscellaneous | Found photograph, cut paper, tape, Cellu-clay, canvas, cut clothing, belt, ink, graphite, China mark | 1562x1308mm | 2019

Incorporating a wide range of materials—including found photographs, papier-mâché, and elements of clothing—Troy Michie’s works materialize the ways that historically marginalized communities are often alternately erased and fetishized, made invisible and hypervisible. The artist’s collages include photography from the pages of 1980s niche pornographic magazines that exclusively featured men of color, camouflaged in ways that withhold intimate details. Michie finds similar ambiguity in the zoot suit, a flashy, roomy style that became popular in African American communities throughout the 1930s and 1940s, influencing the Pachuco subculture that originated in his hometown of El Paso. For Michie the suit’s disruptive history is critical to reorienting how today’s media landscape highlights relations along the politicized U.S./Mexico border. The style is also a reminder of the ways self-fashioning can both advertise and disguise aspects of race, class, and gender. By including zoot suit fragments in the works alongside figures whose faces are blank, Michie implies the difficulty in preserving one’s visibility in the face of cultural bias. ( Image courtesy the artist and COMPANY, New York)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)