Exclusive: Zackary Drucker at REDCAT’s NOW Fest

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In its third and final week, REDCAT’s NOW Fest (which celebrates Los Angeles dance, theater, music and multimedia performance artists) features PIG, a new multimedia collaborative piece from Mariana Marroquin, Wu Ingrid Tsang, and Zackary Drucker, an LA-based artist whose work tackles the thorny themes of dominant socio-political paradigms. An exploration of gay and transgender issues, Drucker’s art combines intensely personal narrative with historical investigations — turning secrets and lies into vibrant, illuminating proofs of life.

Flavorpill: Given the intimacy of your work, what was it like for you to develop a collaborative piece? How does the personal fit into the group dynamic? Do you often collaborate with other artists?

Zackary Drucker: I consider the majority of my work collaborative and have frequently used creative partnerships as the foundation for my practice. Throughout the years I’ve worked with my mother, my best friend Van Barnes, and my surrogate grandmother Mother Flawless Sabrina, to explore queer/feminist lineage and dialoguing.

In this case, working with Wu Ingrid Tsang and Mariana Marroquin, two fellow trans-gendered performers, we have joined three very different ways of working  under an arc of shared experience and history. PIG, the piece we’ve created, is an expression of how community persists despite an undertow of misrepresentation, as well as a channeling of our fore-bearing sisters’ voices of the past.

FP: REDCAT has a history of supporting controversial work, especially queer culture, more so than other institutions. How deeply were they involved in developing the work for NOW?

ZD: We are deeply grateful for REDCAT’s encouragement and hold an enormous amount of respect for their programming and their willingness to show subversive work. REDCAT provided both the forum and the means to create this work, as well as a strong foundation for us to build on. Not to mention a flawless theater.

I hope to see more institutions follow their example by supporting transgressive work, and to perhaps become less focused on the over-exposed “center” of the art world, creating space for a more balanced  and diverse rendering of human experience.

FP: What is it about Warhol that keeps him relevant? Why go back to him in constructing PIG? Is that a deliberate step to keep the piece in the art camp rather than the politics camp? The political art genre can be tricky — balancing the urge to communicate a message can be at odds with art’s use of nuance and mystery. Do you consider yourself a political artist?

ZD: I don’t resist contextualizing my work as political expression, though I attempt to communicate a political identity that is layered with nuanced complexity, and interwoven with a dark personal narrative that never attempts to reduce or polarize the issues at hand.

Program Three runs Thursday, August 6 through Saturday August 8.