KATIE ALICE FITZ GERALD
ON GENDER AND IDENTITY
Katie Alice Fitz Gerald is a Gallerist, Curator and Writer. She has been a partner of Denny Dimin Gallery since it opened in New York in 2013 and will be Director of Denny Dimin Gallery, Hong Kong which will open in Wong Chuk Hang, in January 2022. Since her Masters at Goldsmiths, studying queer theory and performance, Katie Alice has fostered a special interest in art which looks at identity and performed gender.
Here are five things that inspired her practice:
1. David Bowie Is, at The Brooklyn Museum (2018)
For me, one of the most inspiring humans – as artist, shapeshifter and cultural icon – is David Bowie. When the V&A opened the ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition I was living in New York and had just given birth to my first child so I was forced to miss it. I was so exhilarated when the exhibition made its last stop at the Brooklyn Museum in 2018. By that time I had had another child whose middle name is Bowie and both my children and I were just soaked in the phenomenal visual splendour. It was an immersive experience basking in the beauty of Bowie.
2. Southbank Centre, Dennis Crompton, Norman Engleback, Ron Herron, Dan Graham (1951)
This building exemplifies a very personal London. I was born next door to the Southbank Centre at St Thomas’s hospital and have spent my whole life forming a relationship with this Brutalist concrete megalith. As a young child I thought it was a monstrous blight amid more classical architecture lining the Thames, but swiftly I grew to adore it, especially when I came to find myself working within the Southbank Centre, at the Hayward Gallery in 2008. The Southbank Centre for me epitomises the culture of postwar 20th century London housing a variety of performative spaces from galleries to theatre and concert halls. Art in London would not be the same without it.
3. Michael Clark Company, at Tate Modern (2010-2011)
I grew up planning to be a dancer. I went to a specialised performing arts school, devoting much of my childhood to ballet and other forms of dance but as I grew through my teenage years, becoming more rebellious and reclaiming my body, I decided it wasn’t for me. The only time I have absolutely regretted turning my back on this art form was seeing Michael Clark and his company perform as part of their residency at The Tate Modern in 2010. I wished with every fibre of my being I was up there performing.
4. @ Beefcake_Dragqueen #queer #instagay #instabear, Best Lives, Sean Fader (2019-2020)
This artwork by Sean Fader was shown in his solo show Thirst/Trap at Denny Dimin Gallery, New York, 2020. I have always been drawn to the mysterious beauty of drag queens and this image of Beefcake (known as @beefcake_dragqueen on instagram) stirs me into feeling so many things, mainly awe and respect. Certainly my children agree and it’s almost worshipped like an altarpiece in our household. I am thankful that every day this artwork is teaching my children strength in oneself, to look beyond gendered boundaries and to value difference.
5. I’m just Wan Chai girl, Lau Wai (2018)
Before moving to Hong Kong I was advised to read the novels Tai Pan and Nobel House by author James Clavell. These are fictionalised accounts of the real history of Hong Kong and its colonial past. These complicated and problematic works of fiction are put into even more focus when seen through the perspective of artists such as Lau Wai, who looks at how Western interpretations of Chinese culture manifest in cinema. Through her work she questions who holds the power over her/the body and identity. We’re excited to be exploring these ideas further in our inaugural exhibition at Denny Dimin Gallery, Hong Kong, which will include Lau Wai’s work.