The face you know, the body you’ve seen: Juliana Huxtable. Artist, poet, muse, SHOCK VALUE founder/DJ, and star of the 2015 New Museum Triennial, this leggy siren exists in a time when the fluidity of sex and gender are on the forefront of discussion. Juliana’s queerness shows that although she lives in the crux of intersectionality, she prospers.
As OC stylist Kindall Almond put outfits together for Juliana, she sat in the shade applying her purple lipstick with precision. Her stature is powerful, face controlled, yet her most striking feature seemed to be her gaze.
We meandered into the thick trees of Prospect Park, chugging water to counter the heat of summer.
What is your biggest fear?
Being consumed by a zeitgeist I dreamed of as a hopeful child and being spit out by it, cut off from the oxygen needed to sustain a child-like corpus against the astringent effect of the dense breadth of interview questions that occur over and over again. Strings of words, hardly ever probing, give temporary protection to a photo—tightening word—count skin cells to preserve a shallow youth that the woman behind is determined to break.
What do you do during your downtime?
Drifting away in self care; coconut, almond and scented essentials oils elasticize stretch marks tracing the development of new breast tissue after long baths—a retreat.
Clearing passageways in clogged synapses so that neurons can sprint at the speed of adderall to handle the barrage of staurn returns.
Working out the weight of responsibility and expectation; the immediate paycheck it offers. Planning to, avoiding and occasionally reading more. returning to roots charged—jolted really—by theoretical structures that have shaped sub- and un- conscious. Working to not lose them in tributary marxist pursuits of a grounding to a practice birthed in impulse; the German critic, transparent like casper, standing on my shoulder and whipsering in my ear “make a refusal.”
Seeing feminist visions appear in mutable, mucous form. Angels from my past haunt sterile scrolls through contemporary-art—daily searching for the sense of affiliation I lost when I was escapist-tumbl’ing from a job that made clear what I need to do and began the process of initiating it.
Romanticizing the scars on my hands from working in cafes, restaurant, and catering companies. Brain shattering in career neuroses but ablaze with fervor to establish something else, so I never have to return to those scars and hide blood to serve my peers.
Waiting, sometimes working, and above all hoping.
Favorite places to eat in NYC?
Grilling in my yard with my sisters surrounding me after a day spent procrastinating; hurrying between empty starbucks that never seem to be the right environment generally but mostly and always outside; alone on a bench, perched on a rock in mcgolrick park writing I am comforted by the waves of trees that I feel but haven’t seen since my last acid trip.
Eating classes an experience.
Lipstick mixes with sesame oil from room temp seaweed salad I’ve been toting around wrapped in a crunchy bag nestled inside of my tote until I found the right place, in sun. Close to shade.
“Is there a secret spot any more than there is a private sphere?”
Favorite places to go out?
Exorcisms with past selves at the spectrum after a break-up; séances at the spectrum with past selves celebrating a new love; moving to release my body back to itself; billowing in the sweat of (primarily) the one against me clearing my skin of its salty exterior and inviting me to release myself to them.
Any secret spot?
Is there such thing as a secret spot in New York? Maybe the places inside me where fingers, latex cocks and tongues have touched...
In summer, I walk from Bushwick, down Broadway, over the Williamsburg bridge, up the East river parkway to Harlem. I stop in the Conservatory Garden, perch on one of the benches surrounded by flowers and covered by the shade of foreign trees. I clear my mind and feel the sweat of my body stick to my skin. My makeup is gone and I’m there. I climb and mount a rock in the adjacent hiking ground. Selfie stick up, I laugh and think of Jill Scott’s smile “living my life like it’s golden.”
Places along the journey I can feel for a few moments. Months are my discoveries. A shady spot under construction near the U.N. building watching workers feet scramble by, compacting the groundswell of the real estate bubble cracking the concrete. Street view consumes as it aggregates.
Is there a secret spot any more than there is a private sphere?
What is your biggest inspiration?
Any exciting upcoming projects?
Catch me at MoMA for Performa. Come see my solo show next year.
If you could go back in time: what era would you choose?
Nostalgia sustained my hope and speculative imagination through childhood and it loaned me enough placebo inspiration to get me out. I would have said the '70s, New York, Studio 54 if I had to pick a location. I moved to New York to loose myself from the longing that nostalgia is based in. Feed my soul; photosynthesize readily available possibility into hope that just might actualize. I wouldn’t go back.
“I moved to New York to loose myself from the longing that nostalgia is based in.”