Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Justine Lai - Join Or Die

We will not be writing much commentary with this entry, because frankly it is not really needed.


In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.

I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that's strictly pornographic—the lurid and hardcore, the predictably "controversial." One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its "Fuck the Man" symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.

March 2009


Justine Lai was born in San Francisco and raised in Sacramento, California. She currently lives and works in San Francisco.

C. V.

b. 1985, San Francisco, CA


2008 B.A. w/ distinction, Studio Art and English; Stanford University, Stanford, CA


2009 It's Happening All The Time, Rock Paper Scissors, Oakland, CA

2008 Senior Exhibition 2008, Subgallery, Stanford, CA

2007 Join Or Die (solo), Subgallery, Stanford, CA