Reprinted from ABC@Papermachine Scrapbook by Nancy Sharon Collins.
Every year, Paper Machine’s Residency hosts local and national/international artists to develop creative projects and public programs that explore and expand the possibilities of print-based artistic inquiry.
This year one of three resident artists is Ryan Leitner. His artistic inquiry is directed toward the visualization of queerness in different environments such as public and private spaces, the workplace, and archival documents.
For this residency, Ryan further develops his Strange Inheritance project that began as a traveling performance piece. Leitner visited queer monuments and heritage sites in many U.S. cities including St. Louis, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Boston, and several New Orleans monuments sites such as the AIDS memorial in Washington Square Park and the memorial site in the Faerie Playhouse garden on Esplanade comprising cremains of several gay rights activists who lived in New Orleans.
Sadly, Leitner discovered many disused locations. With personal sweat and grants from SMFA Traveling Fellowship—Tufts University, the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana, and the Office of Human Rights and Equity in New Orleans, Leitner has restored the Pink Dolphin Statue in Galveston and the Upstairs Lounge Plaque in New Orleans. Bravely, Leitner assiduously cleaned and repaired many bringing back dignity and pride to the memory of gay, queer, and transgender individuals who have come before him.
Over the years Strange Inheritance continues its focus on queer visibility through history and culture. It has grown into a body of performance, installation, and visual art representing love “for a community that has always needed to fight for its visibility, and love for a community that will always need to fight for its rights.”
—Ryan Leitner, Ambush Magazine, April 14, 2020.
During his residency at Paper Machine, he will be creating a series of art books that pull from his research, work, and experiences along his Strange Inheritance journey.
ABC welcomes Ryan and looks forward to his book arts project celebrating queer history and rich legacy of civil rights activism in the queer community.