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Isla Hansen
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Andrea Peña
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Asim Waqif
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Shohei Katayama
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After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Ayanah Moor

by and about


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Ayana Moor's work often uses methods of mimicry, of insertion, and of usurping: of positioning her body, her voice, and/or her sensibility into the position of another. For example, she has displaced the image of Senator Harry Reid with her own image masquerading as Sister Souljah in press photographs of Reid's meeting with US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor; and in Baby Got Back she slyly usurped rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot's hyper-masculine presence with her own queer presence. Here she uses texts by and about Black women to evoke a visceral sense of desire. - Hilary Robinson, Curator

Excerpts from:
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day and Poem of Angela Yvonne Davis (October 16, 1970) by Nikki Giovanni
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Deeper by THEESatisfaction
Commentary about Billie Holiday
Remarks about the painting of Mickalene Thomas
Public letter by Dream Hampton

Artist Statement

So the site is really critical. The prints on display were made in that specific space. The form of the work in terms of the palette for me talks about the body and from a very guttural, visceral sense. So that quality and sensibility of how the prints are interpreted is pretty important to me; and that the body is being recognized without the literal body being there or representation in terms of something figurative.

The title "by and about" speaks to that. Either words said about Black women or words by a Black woman . . . I am interested in the public being intrigued by the words that they see in the prints. Maybe their curiosity leads them to read the label. I don't know that it's required that they know that - I think that there is a lot there just in how you process the text but should you be interested, there is this other layer of meaning.

Maybe because I've been getting older, and thinking about aging - there is a quality to the New York Times paper. At first, I think it is a beautiful paper . . . And depending on how you handle it - in this case, screen-printing layers of acrylic ink will actually slow the process of aging somewhat. But the paper will behave in a way that is a response to the environment - and it's okay. Whatever happens to the paper happens to the paper. That it has a life in the space is kind of nice to me, a kind of poetry, and that fact that we can't totally control that paper. It is going to do what it wants to do.


Feminist and... September 7, 2012 – May 26, 2013
About The Artist

Ayanah Moor appropriates and revises existing material to invert and expand meaning. Her creative tools include print media, performance, drawing, and video. Recent exhibitions include Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, New Zealand, Subliminal Projects Gallery, Echo Park, CA, and Proyecto ‘ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Moor holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA from Tyler School of Art. She is an associate professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

Lincoln, Lonnie and Me – A Story in 5 Parts

Breasts in the Press

Water Rules Life Pittsburgh: Seeking Lost Rivers, Living Waters of Larimer

Written Room

Active Energy: Pittsburgh


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