Death Rights

curated by Marian Casey

Iliria Osum, Still from Untitled, 2022
  • This information will be updated.
To have a healthy relationship to death is to be an enemy of capitalism.

'Death Rights' presents artists engaging with death, loss, remembrance, and the afterlife in radical, political, and experimental ways. Artists who reclaim or explore death, memory and loss from political, spiritual, and radical perspectives. 'Death Rights' brings together a breadth of artists and creative researchers to radically reshape our relationship to death.

Exhibiting artists explore end of life rituals, alternatives, and communal processes of grieving and laying to rest, our relationship to the past and buried histories and ancestors, and the politics of who and what gets to be remembered. They demand new ways of grieving and celebrating those lost, and create new ways of relating to death when death and danger loom close to their communities. They reclaim death as a political tool, exploring ways death makes communal land and gives irrefutable evidence of a people's claim to place; they explore archival work and death research as a radical creative and political act. They reorient and queer our relationships to spirituality and its role in our understandings of grief, death and the past/future, and they unravel heteronormative life and death versus 'queer time', place, and community.

Works will include performative and sculptural explorations of vernacular spirituality and public grieving; queer visions of future legacies; archival research, installation, and performance investigating the politics of race, cultural appropriation, and place in death and remembrance; rituals of queer and trans survival and commemoration in the face of death; a tattoo studio participating in the cycle of rejuvenation and re-erasure of a dead artist's destroyed oeuvre; net art games of discomfiting tarot exploring the divine, death and gender; and others.

South Texas, with its multinational history of colonization, idealized revolutions, and shifting political and cultural borders, has a unique relationship to death, grief, and memory. The exhibition will live in an early 20th century church in one of San Antonio's oldest neighborhoods, engaging with these contexts and drawing together a compelling blend of Texan and non-Texan artists.

The exhibition will include talks and workshops from artists, specialists, and archivists, to help participants explore new ways of thinking about life and death.The end result will be a thoughtful and multi-faceted exploration of our rights, as humans, to interact with death in an abundant, creative, and healing way - rights that too often are taken from us (by capitalist forces, governments, and other systems of power), or that we forget to remember to use.

*The text above was submitted to apexart's 2023-24 INTL Open Call, and rated by over 700 jurors. Any specific artists mentioned are unconfirmed and subject to change.
An independent curator and art historian, Marian Casey?s curatorial practice focuses on social engagement and building experimental approaches to historic narratives and spaces; she sees the potential in curating as an experimental mediator between contemporary art/artists and relevant histories, socio-political contexts, and communities. She is especially driven to curate projects promoting LGBTQ+ artists and stories. Marian co-founded SXRVXVE, an interdisciplinary curatorial platform dedicated to creating and presenting projects and artists engaging with systems of power. She has worked with curatorial teams at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Courtauld Gallery, The Royal Academy, and Times Square Arts, among others.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.