Multimedia artist Juliana Huxtable is a New York based artist, writer, and performer, who has created work that speaks to the theme of Afrofuturism. She references her own body as she examines socio-political issues of race, gender, and justice using imagery that deals with sexuality and futurism. She often employs self-portraiture and text-based prints in artwork that includes human-creature fusion.
Huxtable, born and raised in Texas, is a transgender woman of color who was born intersex. She began her transition after graduating from Bard College in 2010, where she studied, art, gender studies, and human rights. Moving to New York City, she worked as a legal assistant for A.C.L.U.’s Racial Justice Program. Her interest in fashion led her to model for a number of fashion houses such as DKNY, Chromat, and Kenzo.
Huxtable’s work often feels as though she is bringing her audience along in her own intellectual wanderings. Huxtable’s 2015 performance piece at New York’s MoMA “There Are certain Facts that Cannot Be Disputed” references samurais, the French Baroque, W.E.B. DuBois’s “Encyclopedia Africana,” and GeoCities. The connections she made were abundant and were rapidly shifting one into another. She was included in the 2015 New Museum Triennial “Surround Audience” as both a participant and muse, with artist Frank Henson sculpting her likeness for his own work “Juliana.”
In 2017, Huxtable had her first solo exhibition “A Split during Laughter at the Rally” in a New York gallery. Huxtable situates her work in the immediate present, using imagery from protest marches and fringe political literature. There were five posters in the gallery with digitally added text and graphics. Her art exposes the conspiracies that keep African Americans in the margins through shadowy networks of power. Her same characters appear and reappear in the various videos leaving the viewer with the idea that the tools of liberation are bound to mechanisms of oppression. One unifying element is Huxtable’s own smile with photos of her face enlarged and exaggerated. The use of her own body is more than just autobiographical. Her face is twisted into a grinning mask with an isolated smile, and her body is abstracted into a machine.
Her second solo exhibition “Juliana Huxtable” opened in London in 2017 and included sculptural paintings, posters, photographs, and fashion. This exhibition continued her exploration of conspiracy theories and subcultures but with the added element of humor.
In 2016, Huxtable was a Visiting Artists Program lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited and performed at the New Museum, MoMA PS1, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Institute of Contemporary Arts among others.