(born 1977, Stuckey, Florida; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York)
Kalup Linzy’s videos and live performances are influenced by soap operas, music videos, black comedians, R&B, blues and pop music, and drag performance. His unforgettable characters–many of them played by Linzy himself—express a distinct American pop-cultural voice. Linzy and his collaborators embrace the low-budget production values and visual conventions of community-access cable television. Portrayed against simple, pared-down environments, his stories focus on language and lyrics while examining the real and imagined lives.
Collaboration is an important and consistent factor in Linzy’s work, as is evident in storylines that focus on relationships in the art and music worlds in particular—the collaborative, competitive tendencies that run through them—and the actors who make recurring guest appearances (sometimes as completely different characters). Many of the actors are not professionally trained, but rather are Linzy’s fellow artists or friends. Earlier works, represented in this exhibition by Conversations Wit De Churen II: All My Churen (at the Grey Art Gallery) and KK Queens Survey (at the Studio Museum) draw on the sensibilities of a variety of characters whose use of Southern dialects, black vernacular and slang are as integral as the narrative itself. By contrast, Linzy’s newer videos, such as Introducing Kaye: (Romantic Loner), focus more on individuals, particularly through the lens of musical performance.
Kalup Linzy received his BFA (2000) and MFA (2003) from the University of South Florida. He also participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2002. In 2007, Linzy was named a Guggenheim Fellow. His solo exhibitions and projects include the survey exhibition, Kalup Linzy: If It Don’t Fit, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); Kalup Linzy: Shades of Black and White, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2006); Kalup Linzy: All My Churren, LAXART, Los Angeles (2006); and Black Alphabet: Contexts of Contemporary African American Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2006). He also participated in the Prospect.1 Biennial, New Orleans (2008). He has performed and screened work at venues including The Kitchen, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, British Film Institute, London; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. In 2012, he debuted the work Introducing Kaye at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.