Featured Photo By Bill Farrell Agency

Review | Written by the Go! Push Pops

 

Brooklyn Museum Artists Ball

Go! Push Pops at the Brooklyn Museum Artists Ball Gala | Photo by Morgan Mann

 

Gotta Sign On Ma Dick: BAD BYTCHES ONLY

On Wednesday April 24th Go! Push Pops re-performed “BLOCK WATCHING Remix”  (based on footage we Youtube hijacked from Luis Gispert’s 2002 video Block Watching) with founding member Anna Souvorov for the cocktail hour of the annual Artists Ball. An event honoring several esteemed figures in the Arts including Wangechi Mutu, Roxy Paine and Vik Muniz among others, the Push Pops were asked to perform twice as the unpaid appendages of the celebrated artist Luis Gispert. Ouch! We just popped our institutional cherry – and in all honesty, pandering to the big goonz was a bit of a circus.

Like when we received an email at 8am show day saying our second performance (BAD BITCHES) was “cancelled” but that we could still prance around entertaining party guests, mingle and get our nails did for free. OH HELL NO. After several tedious meetings and tech runs, weeks of slaving over the Bad Bitch Mobile, combing gangsta rap for “Bad Bitch” rhymes and the requisite curatorial insinuations that our performance might be a bit “RAW” for old money –  we weren’t gonna let some suit pull the plug. We stood up for ourselves in the face of censorship and maneuvered our way back into the program like stealthy renegades 45 min before we dropped trow at center stage. Cake, considering we  we had already body slammed the museum floor so many times borough president Marty Markowitz felt a tingle in his root chakra. We kept in the clear with our transnational feminist queer-core selves and went for the jugular of the status quo like it aint nobody’s business. As they say, we like to swim with the fish.

Bad Bitches

Fuck Your Morals | Photo by Rebecca Smeyne, Paper Magazine

Funny thing is, when we originally performed “BLOCK WATCHING Remix” at the Moore St. Market during a BOS 2011 show curated by Michelle Lopez and Austin Thomas, it kinda flopped. Okay maybe more than kinda. Flopped like WHOA. We offended a bunch of locals who were confused about why we didn’t have any sort of talent following the escalated promotional efforts… meanwhile even our artsy friends came and bestowed furrowed brows and looks of disgust and confusion as we writhed in loads of bling to Chris Brown’s hit “Look at Me Now” et all. A biracial pal cried “Racial Mimicry!!” and shut her friendship door in our face 4eva. On top of that the whole project reeked of copyright infringement. Yes – we took another artist’s work off the internet without asking and now we’re getting fay fay for it!! Remix culture gone wild.

Bad Bitches

Photo by Rebecca Smeyne, Paper Magazine

Two years after our first run of B.W.R. we received a Facebook from da Man Luis Gispert himself saying “I’m a big fan of your work. Love your remix of Block Watching. I think finally someone understood what that video was all about.” Of course he did!!! We chewed up his video and spit it back out x3 supafly feminist hoez wid attitude. And by the time we performed it at the Brooklyn Museum, we were loud, proud, and in the driver’s seat of the proto-Matriarchy. As three novices performing in a Nuyorican and Dominican market of Bushwick with nothing more than a pair of ratchet speakers and unflattering lighting to mediate the uncanny and slippery cultural barriers Luis Gispert’s seemingly surface level but incredibly critical BLOCK WATCHING aesthetic unlocked, we felt all the weight of our *white* privilege and more. As we giggled and rolled on the floor of the Brooklyn Museum (now plastered with our posters and licking our auras with its majestic architecture) we took pride mocking the rich to the tune of their rampant dropped jaws and flash bulbs. The joke was on them.

Bad Bitches

Video Still

Or was the joke on us? The truth is, if we weren’t trying to tear down the state with our badness, we could be duun the same deed in a strip club and wait for Drake to let it rain 50,000 G’s, god knows we care more about rappers than the lethargic upper crust anyway. When PAPER Mag recently published several images of our “Bad Bitch” rampage in the center of the sculptural Jamaican sound system Luis Gispert was commissioned to build for the after-party they wrote that we merely “roll[ed] around topless in piles of glitter on the dancefloor.” The descriptors anchoring their report of the event were “scantily clad” and “performing dance moves from a 2002 Luis Gispert video,” editing out our drag intro and rhinestone studded oversize genitalia in favor of flying vaginas and FUCK tatt’d boobies in their depictions. The whole thing reeked of insert-male-artist-name here, as the Block Watching video was actually OUR remix of HIS work, and included a bling liquidation channel featuring Tunisian imports. PAPER also wrote us as a “Tumblr” collective – I guess radical transnational queer hip hop feminist collective doesn’t exactly roll off the pedestrian tongue.

Bad Bitches

Photo by Rebecca Smeyne, Paper Magazine

Not to say that the glitter and boobs didn’t go down. “Bad Bitches” was a new collaboration with the artist Michelle Marie Charles, and it was a lot more than glitters in babeland. In fact, the rhinestones and glitter quoted the work of Mickalene Thomas. Black, lesbian, and PAID IN FULL, her recent stunning solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum pierced the glass ceiling for all female artists. Mickalene’s glitzy 1970s Black Power aesthetic was something we very consciously animated in Bad Bitches. We also dressed in homo-thug drag and incorporated d.i.y. cardboard and glitter genitalia, facial hair (Michelle Marie Charles Explicit and Deleted meets Lesbian Calendar girl JD Samson of Le Tigre throwback) and a sweet whip we made from Bushwick detritus. Dotting the horizon of our ratchet candy dreamscape was The Naked Palm Tree Boy (aka BoomBoxBoy) and painter Edwin Bethea hiding topless and gilded behind a sequined cloud. And yo big shout out here to all the mens, particularly the curiously classy DJ couplet Andrew Andrew that spliced our original soundtrack (post-bureaucratic smack down) back into their set at the last minute and of course, Luis Gispert, who’s genius and flashy original vid was a critical map for Go! Push Pops all the way through.

Bad Bitches

Photo by Jena Cumbo, Refinery29

But back to our boobies – in some of the press you can make out “FUCK” and “MORALS” written on our chest, as each of us were adorned with slogans ie. “Fuck Your Morals” and “My Body is not the Source of Anyone’s Honor.” The text here references Amina, the 19-year-old Tunisian feminist who was sent to a looney bin by her family for scrawling those words on her naked chest and posting pics online. In the final scene of Bad Bitches, as misdiagnosed in the scores of press we received following the show, we scooped up our cardboard rhine//stones and threw them at the audience in a symbolic gesture recalling how Amina’s virtual battle cry resulted in the Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Tunisia calling for her to be “stoned to death.” During the culminating moment of this year’s Brooklyn Artists Ball in commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Go! Push Pops were goin’ hard in the face of a less blatant, albeit very much stilled mired in the dregs of patriarchal fear and lack culture (dressed up in Tunisian ice and bling as it may be). We know it needs our juice. Our half-mythical, beastly, rainbow-tinted coochie romps are as old as time primordial and as cosmic as the future-perfect.  Go! Push Pops is confident the contemporary art schmerld is only just beginning to understand how much they need us and why.

Bad Bitches

The Push Pops backstage in collaboration with Michelle Marie Charlezz

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