My Problem with the Arts in Philadelphia

Dying of Exposure

Blocking, Eva Wǒ, Curate This, Wit López

When euphoric and soulful creativity is flowing without hesitation from an intellectually and politically conscious adult body, you are in the presence of someone very special. Wit López (they/them pronouns) is like a fire dragon bubble tea with grass jelly to the white cup coffee drinkers of the art world—perhaps too fabulous; these art gallery scene kids wouldn’t even know how to make sense of what they’d just sipped. During the planning of their solo show at 40th St AIR Space and the Rotunda, an interactive, tactile exhibition of fiber and mixed media works intended for participation by visually impaired folks, I was immediately struck by Wit’s approach to and philosophy of their practice. Wit’s work reflects their experiences as a disabled, gender non-conforming/nonbinary trans person of African American and Boricua descent through joy, macabre humor, and total absurdity. They often explore concepts of hairiness, accessibility, queerness, gender identity, Blackness, and Latinidad through mixed media, fiber arts, imagery, performance, and independent curation. They are Brooklyn-bred and Philadelphia-based. For excellent experiments in craft, self-portraiture/performance, and on-point commentary, you can follow them on instagram at @witnotwhit.

– Eva Wǒ, curator

Blocking, Eva Wǒ, Curate This, Wit López
Blocking, 2017
60 in x 70 in
Cardboard, Cotton, Felt

In keeping with the theme “My Problem with Arts in Philadelphia,” I wanted to poke fun at two things that are reoccurring for me. Blocking is meant to look like an unfinished quilt or banner that is being worked on while the text on it says “*Dies of Exposure*.” The title of the piece is a play on the word blocking, which can refer to the fiber craft technique of blocking, being blocked on social media, or dealing with gatekeepers in the art world. The words on the piece are meant to critique all of the times artists have been offered exposure instead of money for our art, since exposure can’t feed us or give us shelter.

Blocking, Eva Wǒ, Curate This, Wit López
Common Threads, 2017
39 in x 39 in
Cotton, Felt

Common Threads is about all the folks who have asked me to collaborate, then never responded after I agreed. “Seen” and “Read” are references to how technology lets us know that someone has viewed our response, and hasn’t answered. Sometimes, that is their answer. This piece is about the upset of no response, but it also is a display of the understanding that as artists we don’t owe anyone anything.

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