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Photo by Timothy Schenck

Various Participants

Readings and performances in response to Zoe Leonard's “I want a president”

November 2016 – November 2016

High Line Art hosts an afternoon of readings and performances in response to Zoe Leonard’s I want a president (1992), which is currently on view on the western pillar of The Standard, High Line, through November 17, 2016. Readings and performances will be presented by Morgan Bassichis, Justin Vivian Bond, Nath Ann Carrera, Mel Elberg, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, Sharon Hayes, Layli Long Soldier, Fred Moten, Eileen Myles, Pamela Sneed, and Wu Tsang.


1:00 PM: Introductory remarks
1:05 PM: Sharon Hayes
1:15 PM: Fred Moten
1:30 PM: Wu Tsang
1:45 PM: Morgan Bassichis
2:15 PM: Mel Elberg
2:30 PM: Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade
2:00 PM: Layli Long Soldier
2:45 PM: Pamela Sneed
3:00 PM: Eileen Myles
3:15 PM Justin Vivian Bond and Nath Ann Carrera

Artist bio

Morgan Bassichis performs live comedic stories that explore history, mysticism, and just, like, being alive. Morgan has performed at Artists Space, New Museum, PARTICIPANT INC, Poetry Project, Whitney Museum of American Art, and as part of the 2015 Greater New York exhibition at MoMA PS1. Bassichis’s essays have appeared in the Radical History Review, Captive Genders, and other edited volumes. Bassichis’s shows have been described as “out there” (by Bassichis’s mother) and “super intense” (by Bassichis).

Mx Justin Vivian Bond is a trans-genre artist living in New York City. As a performer both on and Off-Broadway, Mx Bond has received numerous accolades winning an Obie (2001), a Bessie (2004), a Tony nomination (2007), the Ethyl Eichelberger Award (2007), The Peter Reed Foundaton Grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant for Artists.  V authored the Lambda Literary Award winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels (The Feminist Press, 2011).

Mel Elberg believes in the existence and value of many different kinds of thinking and interaction, in a world in which how close you can appear to a certain one of them determines whether you’re seen as a Real Person, or an adult, or an intelligent person, and in a world in which these determine whether you have any rights.

Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade are artists based in New York. Since 2000, they have performed and exhibited extensively with their collective My Barbarian, whose show The Audience is Always Right, is currently on view at the New Museum. They make solo and duo projects, as well. Gaines is assistant professor of Performance Studies at NYU and Segade is co-chair of MFA Film/Video at Bard College.

Sharon Hayes lives and works in New York City. Hayes is engaged in an art practice that uses multiple mediums—video, performance, and installation—in ongoing investigation into various intersections between history, politics and speech. Hayes’s work has been presented internationally at institutions including Baltimore Museum of Art (2015), Stedelijk Museum (2013), Whitney Museum of Art (2012), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2012), Museum of Modern art (2012), SF MOMA (2011), ICA, Philadelphia (2010), and Tate Modern (2007).

Layli Long Soldier is a poet-architect in the arena of witness and longing. Her poems have appeared in The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, and other publications. She is the recipient of the 2015 NACF National Artist Fellowship, a 2015 Lannan Literary Fellowship and a 2016 Whiting Award. Her work of poetry, WHEREAS, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. Soldier resides in Santa Fe, NM.

Fred Moten is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, The Feel Trio, The Little Edges, and The Service Porch; co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study; and, with Wu Tsang, co-author of Who touched me?. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

Eileen Myles is a poet whose books include Chelsea Girls, I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems and The Importance of Being Iceland/Travel Essays in Art. Myles conducted an openly female write-in campaign for president of the United States in 1992. They have received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, and in 2016 was awarded the Clark Prize. Myles’s poems have appeared in seasons 2 and 3 of the Emmy-winning TV show Transparent. They live in New York and Marfa, TX.

Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, and actress. She is the author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery, KONG & other works, and the chapbook Lincoln. She has performed at Lincoln Center, P.S. 122, Ex-Teresa Mexico City, ICA London, CCA Glasgow, BAM Cafe, Joe’s Pub, The Public Theater, Central Park Summer Stage, Bronx Summer Stage, and the Whitney Museum. She is completing a collection of short stories, Anna Mae/For Black Women Survivors, and has a forthcoming chapbook, Sweet Dreams.

Wu Tsang is a filmmaker, artist, and performer based in Los Angeles. Her work is concerned with queer and trans communities and community-practices, and her films, installations, performances, and sculptures move fluidly between documentary, activism, and fiction. Her projects have been presented at museums and film festivals internationally, including MoMA (New York), Tate Modern (London), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), MCA (Chicago), MOCA (Los Angeles), Berlinale Film Festival (Berlin), SANFIC (Santiago), Hot Docs Festival (Toronto), and South by Southwest Film Festival (Austin).


Zoe Leonard, “I want a president,” is presented by High Line Art and The Standard, High Line.

Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Additional funding is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Dorothy Lichtenstein. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.