Artist Talk: The Body as Social Sculpture

Artist Talk: The Body as Social Sculpture

Hear from Los Angeles–based performance artist, bodybuilder and transgender icon Cassils, as they speak on their past work, practice and development processes.

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With targeted, strictly disciplined strength training, Cassils makes their own body the protagonist of their performances. Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to social expectations, Cassils' work contemplates the histories of violence, representation, struggle and survival.

Using their own body as artistic material, the artist processes influences from feminism, body art and hyper-masculine, homoerotic aesthetics. Cassils eludes binary gender categories and understands and embodies transgender not as a crossing from one gender to another, but rather as a continual process of becoming, as a form of embodiment that works in a space of indeterminacy and ambiguity.

Cassils' travel is supported by the Perth Festival, and marks their first visit to Australia.

About the artist
Hailed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Cassils’ current exhibition Solutions, Station Museum, Houston, provides a mid-career retrospective of the artist’s work and their first show in Texas (2018).

Recent solo exhibitions include Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands; Trinity Square Video, Toronto; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Cassils’ work has also been featured at the key art for the blockbuster exhibition at the Deutsches Historisches Museum and the Schwules Museum*, Berlin, Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre, London; MUCA Roma, Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; and Deutsches Historishes Museum, Berlin. Cassils is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship (2018), Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), and a Creative Capital Award (2015).

Find out more about the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia


  • 02 Feb - 02 Feb, 19
  • Regular price $28.00 $12.00 Playwave Price

  • All Ages
  • Lecture Theatre Level 2
    140 GEORGE ST
    THE ROCKS NSW 2000

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