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Strange Fire Collective addresses policing bodies, political action and access to power in MIAD Creativity Series and “In this body of mine” exhibition

Strange Fire Collective

Strange Fire Collective founding members (clockwise from top left): Hamidah Glasgow, Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi and Zora J Murff

MILWAUKEE (September 12, 2019) … The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) features the Strange Fire Collective’s four founding members – Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi, Zora J Murff and Hamidah Glasgow – in the MIAD Creativity Series, Friday, October 25, 6 – 7:30 p.m. in MIAD’s 4th Floor Raw Space, 273 E. Erie Street.

In the collective’s public presentation, “Institutional Questions/Questioning Institutions,” they will address three topics – policing bodies, political action and access to power – through works and words of artists, curators and writers from unique and diverse perspectives.

The MIAD Creativity Series presentation is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served. The MIAD Creativity Series presentation also serves as the keynote address for the Society for Photographic Education’s Midwest Chapter Conference in Milwaukee.

The public presentation for the MIAD Creativity Series is part of a short-term residency at the college, during which Strange Fire Collective will engage with students in the classroom and through studio visits.

“In this body of mine” exhibition

Work by Kei Ito

Works of 14 Strange Fire Collective artists are on view October 18 – December 7, 2019 at MIAD’s Frederick Layton Gallery in the exhibit, “In this body of mine.” The exhibition, which is generously supported in part by the Mary L. Nohl Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, questions what it means to occupy a body – and how bodies are policed – through an intersectional lens spanning gender, sexuality, race and representation. A reception for this exhibit is Friday, October 25, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Featured artists include: Nydia Blas, Andre Bradley, Ria Brodell, Widline Cadet, Kei Ito, Rachel Jessen, Tarrah Krajnak, Natalie Krick, Birthe Piontek, Kalen Na’il Roach, Gabriel García Roman, Leonard Suryajaya, Paula Wilson and American snapshots from the collection of Robert E. Jackson.

“Natalie Krick’s work is a playful yet critical riff on how women are portrayed in glossy magazines, while Leonard Suryajaya’s elaborate tableaux test the boundaries of intimacy, community and family,” said Rafael Soldi, a Strange Fire founding member. “Artists like Widline Cadet, Nydia Blas and Tarrah Krajnak provide a new vision for how we picture women of color, and Gabriel García Roman and Ria Brodell borrow from fables, history and iconography to share stories of queer and gender nonconforming people from today as well as throughout history.”

A series of stacks of printed sheets, inspired by Felix Gonzales-Torres’ enduring practice, are on view at the exhibition and feature over 100 individual artists, honoring a wide range of artists and content the collective has facilitated since its founding. Each sheet within a stack features a work by one artist from the Strange Fire archive. Visitors are invited to take a sheet home.

MIAD’s galleries are open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free admission.

About the Strange Fire Collective
Since its inception in 2015, the Strange Fire Collective has centered on providing accessible and socially relevant content that engages with current social and political forces. Through weekly interviews, publications, book reviews, exhibitions and public programs, Strange Fire champions women, people of color, and queer and trans artists, writers, and curators.

The primary focus of the collective is its weekly interviews, which collectively form a growing archive of over 200 in-depth conversations and book reviews that critically question the dominant social hierarchy and tell the story of our time. While “In this body of mine” is on view, Strange Fire will release its 200th weekly interview-feature; the archive is available for free on the collective’s website.

About the MIAD Creativity Series
MIAD Creativity Series logoThe MIAD Creativity Series brings distinctive and internationally renowned creatives to Milwaukee to enrich the experiences of MIAD students while engaging the community in new ways of thinking about, and appreciating, the arts and the world of design.


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