I’ve been a fan of my friend Dorian Katz‘s work for a long time. It can seem deceptively simple and childlike until you pay attention. Then you realize that you are looking a a remarkably high quality of art that confronts a remarkable array of social bigotry and phobias. Ones that damage many lives. Her avatar is Popper the Pony.
She recently created 2 superb zines. One about Popper’s first visit to the Whitney Biennial – The Pony’s 1st Whitney (the biennial) & Other Art Mischief. You can buy the zines and lots of other work here.
She says: This was my first time at a Whitney Biennial. At home in the San Francisco Bay Area, visiting survey shows on what’s important locally leave me with overwhelming feelings of despair. On the subway to the Biennial, I began sketching and writing my feelings about visiting this important show. I stopped to sketch and write frequently during my museum visit. This was the start of A Pony’s First Whitney: the Biennial.
And what an outrageous visit it was!
The second is This Zine Does Not Meet Community Standards, a collaboration between Dorian and other artists.
She says: We chose the title, This Zine Does Not Meet Community Standards, to mock Instagram’s generic response when they censor people. Our community is queer artists and sex workers.
My friend, Buck Deerborn and I were discussing that we meet people who have never heard of Sesta-Fosta, a law that claimed to reduce online sex trafficking. Sesta-Fosta is really a censorship law. It endangers Sex Workers physical safety and livelihoods. We decided to make a zine with a few friends to discuss it’s impact, online censorship more broadly & what sex workers like about their job.
I think this quote fromin Art Practical says a lot about Dorian’s work.
Though Katz’s visual works evoke a visceral response, it is also the durational and participatory context of their presentation—as described in the examples above—that enables a fuller engagement. The strength and efficacy of her images lie in their ability to serendipitously penetrate the viewer’s psyche and body—whether while sitting on the bus, or riding the slow waves of sleep or lovemaking. Their depiction of radical genders and sexual practices does the important work of keeping our beloved and dystopian Bay Area queer, which has increasingly proven to be a challenge given the region’s drastic demographic shifts since the early 2010s.8 The sexual synaesthetics and utopian imagery that characterize Katz’s drawings offer relief in the midst of dark times, making her art practice a politicized form of art therapy, as well as queer culture preservation.
Dorian’s instagram account is here. You should really check it out.