A national awards program, QUEER|ART|PRIZE honors the work of LGBTQ artists in areas of Sustained Achievement and Recent Work, with a ceremony that celebrates the entire Queer|Art community.


Queer|Art|Prize presents two $10,000 awards to LGBTQ artists based in the United States: one for Sustained Achievement and the other for Recent Work. The award is possible through Queer|Art’s ongoing partnership with HBO and was developed in collaboration with the Queer|Art artist community. Featuring a Nominating Committee of over 40 esteemed arts professionals from around the country, Queer|Art|Prize confirms the impact of Queer|Art’s programming and support on a national level and immediately establishes itself as one of the most significant awards specifically created to recognize the artistry and contributions of LGBTQ artists.


Exhibition Opening and Public Awards
Ceremony for the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize Took Place
in One Epic Night at The Center

The 2017-2018 Queer|Art|Mentorship Annual opened with a public reception that happened on Thursday, November 1, hosted by performance and theater artists Moe Angelos and Ryan Haddad, who have worked closely together throughout the past year as Mentor and Fellow. The reception occasioned the production and preview of the 2018 Queer|Art Community Portrait Project, presented as part of an annual series of newly commissioned portraits spotlighting Queer|Art’s diverse and vibrant community of over 150 artists. This year’s commission was given to photographer Lia Clay. The reception continued with the awards announcements for the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize and concluded with a dance party with DJ Sissy Elliott bringing the epic night of queer revelry, sweat, and celebration to its climax.



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For her tremendous impact on black, latinx, punk, and queer culture over the course of an extensive career, on behalf of Queer|Art and the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize Nominating Committee and Judges, we hereby award Ms. Vaginal Davis the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize for Sustained Achievement.

Vaginal Davis is a genius performer who reminds us of the true meaning of queerness in an era of homonormativity. She holds space for others with her generous spirit despite the constraints of a politically-correct realm. For her, performing political correctness is less important than how she cares about people being with each other in the room.


Vaginal Davis’s politically uncompromising artwork continues to reach and inspire an intergenerational queer audience. She takes whatever ghastly political situation we find ourselves in and confronts it with flawless wit and nerve. This practice has always spoken to the audience member who is literally on the margins of the room– not the person who paid full price for the performance, but the one who had to sneak in to witness her brilliance.

Ms. Davis, in a written statement, shared her thoughts on the personal significance of receiving this award: 

"Sustained achievement can be the first leap in the mentoring process of future generations of Qu*A*re stem cells and embryos infinitum. Just don’t forget to take the A in Blackamoor and put it in the middle of Queer. Having been born and raised in Los Angeles California, the city of cars, Sustained Achievement for me means being fortunate enough to have never learned to drive a car therefore I avoided contact with law enforcement because if you drive a car you will eventually be stopped by the police and if you are stopped by the police you might get killed, so I avoided death and because of that I am able to have a very long career as an artist that now is being recognized. Hallelujah!"

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Vaginal Davis was born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles. Davis disrupts hetero and homonormativity as an originator of the homo-core punk movement with her genderqueer art-music performances. Set apart from gallery-centered art, and Hollywood movies, Vaginal Davis’ low-budget performance, experimental film, and video practices critique exclusionary conceits from the outside. In addition, her lecture performances and films refuse to ease conservative tactics within gay and black politics. Her work has appeared in major platforms at the New Museum, New York (2017); Creative Time Summit (2017); Performa 09, New York (2009); and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2008).




Vivian Crockett (left) with Xandra Ibarra (right); photo by Eric McNatt

Vivian Crockett (left) with Xandra Ibarra (right); photo by Eric McNatt

For honoring queer spaces that exist within the margins, for prompting what it means for these queer establishments places to be erased, and for merging a processional performance with the issue of displacement in the city of San Francisco, on behalf of Queer|Art and the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize Nominating Committee and Judges, we hereby award “The Hook Up/Displacement/Barhopping/Drama Tour” by Xandra Ibarra the 2018 Queer|Art|Prize for Recent Work.

The processional performance is raw and immediate as a compelling masquerade that leads people through a bar history of a city with a rich queer history. The accessibility of the work provides a different kind of experience for the audience since the work is not just inside of a venue. Newcomers and people from the street along with friends are all welcome to take part with the artist in the recognition of queer history.

photo by Robbie Sweeney

photo by Robbie Sweeney

"Esto es un gran honor! Thank you for selecting "The Hook Up/Barhopping/Displacement/Drama Tour" for the Recent Work award. This performance, bar crawl, makeout session party was to celebrate the three decades of queer, trans latino and lesbian life that was displaced in San Francisco’s Mission district. And now I feel their spirits will be called upon forever through this award." 

"Queer art to me is a nod to abjection, messiness, what Debra Vargas calls suciedad," Ibarra continued. "The neoliberal economy is trying to disappear and clean us up with 
SESTA/FOSTA, restrictive immigration policies, aggressive law enforcement, and prisons. But they can’t gentrify and disappear everything, sterilize our bodies and neighborhoods. We won’t allow them to sterilize our cities in preparation for the upwardly mobile. Bring back the drama! Let’s be messy, undisciplined, obscene, abject, hypersexual and celebrate our excess and never become normal...because who the fuck wants that!? 

Thank you for this very queer award."

-Xandra Ibarra, accepting the award

Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist from the US/Mexico border who sometimes works under the alias of La Chica Boom. Ibarra uses hyperbolized modes of racialization and sexualization to test the boundaries between her own body and coloniality, compulsory whiteness, and Mexicanidad. Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), Broad Museum (LA, USA), Popa Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Joe’s Pub (NYC), PPOW Gallery (NYC), Anderson Collection (Stanford) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. She has been awarded the Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. Her work has been featured in Artforum, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, ArtNews and in various academic journals nationally and internationally. She is currently curating a year long performance art series at The Broad Museum (LA) with Nao Bustamante entitled EN CUATRO PATAS. As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within feminist immigrant, anti-rape and prison abolitionist movements. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. She currently lectures within the Critical Studies program at California College of the Arts.


The Finalists for the Recent Work award, honoring specific projects, include Elegance Bratton for My House (2018), a ten-part documentary series on Vice that follows the best voguers in the world as they prepare for competition; Rafa Esparza for cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction–north and south, east and west (2018), a response to his personal, familial histories of immigration into the United States and the deeply complex history of downtown Los Angeles; keyon gaskin for [a swatch of lavender]: a self portrait (2018), a series of self-portrait performances choreographed in the artists’ apartment in Portland, Oregon, recontextualized for contemporary gallery spaces; and Xandra Ibarra for The Hook Up/Displacement/Barhopping/Drama Tour (2017), a community performance tour and bar crawl of the former sites of San Franciscan queer clubs and venues.


My House (2018) by Elegance Bratton


[a swatch of lavender]: a self portrait (2018) by keyon gaskin


cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction–north and south, east and west (2018) by Rafa Esparza


The Hook Up/Displacement/Barhopping/Drama Tour (2017) by Xandra Ibarra


The winner of the Sustained Achievement Award was chosen by a panel of three judges: Melissa Anderson, Ted Kerr, and Anaïs Duplan. The four finalists and the winner of the Recent Work award have been chosen by another panel: kara lynch, Allen Frame, and Mx. Oops.



kara lynch (mfa) is a time-based artist living in the Bronx, NY who earns a living as an Associate Professor of Video and Critical Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Ambivalent towards hyper-visual culture, she is curious about duration, being in the body, and sonic experience; and through low-fi, collective practice and social intervention lynch explores aesthetic/political relationships between time + space. Her work is vigilantly raced, classed, and gendered – Black, queer and feminist.

Major projects include: ‘Black Russians’ – a feature documentary video (2001), ‘The Outing’ – a video travelogue (1999-2004), ‘Mouhawala Oula’ – a gender-bending trio performance for baladi dance, live video, and saxophone (2009). The current project ‘INVISIBLE’, an episodic, speculative, multi-site video/audio installation – excavates the terror and resilient beauty of Black-indigenous experience.



Allen Frame is a photographer and writer, represented by Gitterman Gallery in New York where he has had solo exhibitions of photography in 2005, 2009, and 2013.  He is a winner of the 2017/2018  Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. His 2013 exhibition Dialogue with Bolaño was presented at the Museum of Art of the Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico, in 2014. His solo exhibition Innamorato is being presented at the Pratt Institute Photography Gallery on the Brooklyn campus through Dec 14.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Photography at Pratt Institute (MFA) and also teaches at the School of Visual Arts (BFA), and the International Center of Photography in New York. He has taught workshops in photography extensively in Mexico. He graduated from Harvard University and grew up in Mississippi.



Mx. Oops (Wendell Cooper) is a transmedia artist with a focus on multimedia performance, urban dance, and ecstatic disobedience. Their work centers hybridity. They have taught and performed across the United States, Kenya, Burkina Faso, China, Russia, England, Austria, and the Netherlands. They have performed their work in NYC venues such as: Santos Party House, The Box, Joyce Soho, Abrons Art Center, Dixon Place, Little Field, and Free Candy. They have performed in the work of Nicholas Leichter, Rashaad Newsome, Jeffrey Gibson, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? Collective, Yozmit, Narcissister, Maida Withers, and the Erick Hawkins Dance Company among others. They are currently a Resident Artist at CultureHub, and teach at the City University of New York, in Lehman College's Department of Music, Multimedia, Theatre, and Dance.



Anaïs Duplan is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). Their poems and essays have been published by Hyperallergic, PBS News Hour, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Bettering American Poetry, and Ploughshares. Their music criticism has appeared in Complex Magazine and  THUMP.

Duplan is a curator who has facilitated artists’ projects and exhibitions in Chicago, Boston, Santa Fe, Reykjavík, and Copenhagen. Duplan’s video art has appeared or is forthcoming in exhibitions at Flux Factory, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in L.A. Duplan is the founder of the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, and is currently a joint Public Programs Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

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Canadian born Theodore (ted) Kerr is a Brooklyn based writer, organizer and artist. He is a founding member of What Would an HIV Doula Do? collective which is beginning a screening and reading series called “Uneasy Medicine“ at Abrons Arts Center for Fall 2018. He was the Programs Manager at Visual AIDS. He currently teaches at The New School. His writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The New Inquiry, BOMB, CBC, Lambda Literary, POZ Magazine, The Advocate, Cineaste, The St. Louis American, IndieWire, HyperAllergic, and other publications. 



Melissa Anderson is the film editor of 4Columns. From November 2015 until September 2017, she was the senior film critic at the Village Voice. Formerly the film editor at Time Out New York, Anderson has written for Film Comment, Sight & Sound and served on the New York Film Festival’s selection committee from 2009 to 2012. She is a frequent contributor to Artforum and Bookforum.


Nominations for each award were made by a diverse committee of over 20 esteemed arts professionals from around the country, including arts residency directors, art historians, critics, curators, choreographers, cultural organizers, visual artists, performing artists, teaching artists, writers, producers, directors, and filmmakers with various intersecting commitments to queer culture.


2017 Queer|Art|Prize Ceremony Recap

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