K8 Hardy

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K8 Hardy
Kate Hardy

(1977-10-27) October 27, 1977 (age 43)
EducationBard College
Smith College
Known forPerformance Art, Feminist Art, Photography, Sculpture, Fashion

K8 Hardy (USA, b. 1977) is a New York-based video artist, fashion stylist, and photographer whose work is primarily based in fashion and advertising.[1] She holds a BA in Film and Women's Studies from Smith College, studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art through an Independent Study Program, and holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College.[2] Her work can be found in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.[3]

Hardy is a founding member of the queer feminist journal and queer feminist artist collective LTTR, and has directed music videos for groups including Le Tigre, Lesbians on Ecstasy, and Men.[4] Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and has been exhibited and performed internationally at venues including, MoMA PS1 (New York NY), Artists Space (New York, NY), The Tate Modern (London, UK) and Galerie Sonja Junkers (Munich, Germany) among many others. She is also a member of the activist organization Working Artists and the Greater Community (W.A.G.E.).[5]

Hardy is most famous for fashion, but she also works through performance art, Video art and sculpture.[4][6] Her work aims to explore race, class, economics, and gender, and ask questions about the meaning of a feminist agenda.[5][7]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Hardy was born on October 27, 1977 in Fort Worth, Texas, and began spelling her name K8 as a teenager while working on, and publishing various zines.[1][7] As a teenager, Hardy was incredibly studious, earning a very high SAT score as well as maintaining straight A's[8]. She attended Smith College, in Northampton, MA, where she studied film, alongside feminist and queer theory. Through the Five College Consortium, she studied video with Elisabeth Subrin. During this time, she received a grant to work with Miranda July and the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. Upon graduating from Smith College in 2000, Hardy moved to San Francisco for 6 months before moving to New York City to begin working as a stylist for clients including Fischerspooner.[8] In the following years, she studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and in 2008 received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.[1]

Zines and Collectives[edit]

FashionFashion (2002)[edit]

Hardy first started her career as a fashion stylist before creating a color-photocopy zine, FashionFashion, that would launch her into the art world.[9] FashionFashion was a zine that critiqued the media, gender, and fashion. This was often done by showing Hardy or her sister in second-hand clothing Hardy had made. This zine led to Hardy's 2009 solo exhibition at Reena Spaulings Fine Art and was later commissioned by the Tate Modern Exhibition.[1][10] FashionFashion was remade in 2014 in over-scaled editions.[9]

LTTR (2001)[edit]

In 2001, K8 Hardy cofounded LTTR, a genderqueer feminist art collective based in New York whose goal centered around "highlighting the work of radical communities whose goals are sustainable change, queer pleasure, and critical feminist productivity".[11] She cofounded the collective originally with Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Emily Roysdon, and in 2005 they were joined by Ulrike Müller.[12] LTTR was originally created by Hardy and Takahashi as a place where they could share their love for the LGBTQ+ community through art.[12] The collective started out as just a journal, but Hardy, Takahashi, Roysdon, and Müller have since expanded it to include events, screenings, collaborations, read-ins, and workshops.[13]

Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) (2008)[edit]

In 2008, Hardy became a member of Working Artists and the Greater Economy, or W.A.G.E, along with founders A.L. Steiner, A.K. Burns, and Lise Soskolne.[14] W.A.G.E. is a nonprofit organization and activist group that aims to "to establish sustainable economic relationships between artists and the institutions that contract our labor, and to introduce mechanisms for self-regulation into the art field that collectively bring about a more equitable distribution of its economy".[15] Hardy states in an interview with Oscar Tuazon that the purpose of W.A.G.E. is to help artists make an earning wage, as many artists often don't make a wage great enough to support themselves.[16]

Selected Works[edit]

TV Lip Synch (2002)[edit]

Hardy collaborated with Wynne Greenwood in the making of TV Lip Synch, a video in which the two artists lip sync to various daytime-television clips including scenes from Oprah, a soap opera, and a Barbara Walters interview, all programs marketed towards women.

Beautiful Radiating Energy (2004)[edit]

Beautiful Radiating Energy is a performance piece in which Hardy, dressed all in white, makes gymnastic contortions in front of a projected video while shouting "I am happy; I am here; I am hurt. I'm ready!" in a variety of ranges that require a month of vocal training. The video projected includes images of Hardy's friend Math walking away from the camera, found footage of reactions to the burial of Baader-Meinhof terrorists, gay rights parades, and body building competitions.[17]

New Report (2005–2007)[edit]

"New Report" is a video collaboration created by K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood in which two fictional female newscasters for a fictional radio show, WKRH, report the news of their everyday lives.[18] As Wynne Greenwood sometimes works under the name Wynne Ryan, WKRH is an acronym for Wynne K8 Ryan Hardy.[19] Hardy and Greenwood portray these fictional newscasters, Hardy acting as newscaster Henry Irigaray and Greenwood acting as newscaster Henry Stein-Acker-Hill, both of whom represent revolutionaries ranging from Che Guevara to Audrey Hepburn's leading role in Funny Face[20]. The two, clad in berets, trench coats, and turtlenecks, touch upon subjects such as '60s and '70s feminism, queer politics, and mental health through various different activities: burning bras, in-depth interviews, and various news reports utilizing a giant pink microphone.[18][20]

In 2007, Hardy and Greenwood performed New Report Live at the Tate Modern in London. Their report focused on the multiple meanings of power and they dubbed the Tate the "structure of power".[19] Other forms of power discussed were colonialism, slavery, capitalism, and the war in Iraq. "The artists invaded and occupied an iconic structure of power, symbolic of omnipresent patriarchal structures of power within the art world and society at large".[20]

Bare Life (2007)[edit]

In this performance project with musician and sound artist Stefan Tcherepnin, the two respond to Giorgio Agamben's concept of "Bare Life". Hardy described the work in an interview with Michelle White as "most like an abstract painting... So, I questioned and became intrigued by the relationship between exposure and social or structural protection".[7] She also discussed how the costume choices in "Bare Life" were intentionally abstract, and didn't attempt to make them look fashionable.[7]

Position Series (2009–)[edit]

Positions is a series of photographs which employ the tropes of self-portraiture and abstract photography. Hardy began working on Positions two years after finishing the final issue of her zine, LTTR.[9]

One particular photograph in this series, Position Series Diptych, features Hardy seated on a pile of seaside rubble. Hardy's legs are spread, and in between them she is holding a piece of melon in front of her crotch with one hand. In the other, she is drinking water from a bottle. Superimposed over this image is a head of a mannequin with a blonde pixie cut wearing pink, round sunglasses, as well as a headband that reads Feminismo sin mujeres (feminism without women).[9]

Outfitumentary (2016)[edit]

Outfitumentary is a collection of hundreds of self portrait videos shot on a miniature DV camera over the course of 2001-11/2015, and Hardy's cinematic debut.[1][21] The videos documented Hardy's ever-changing fashion styles throughout the decade in whatever location she was living in at the time.[22] The videos were not originally intended for any other audience besides herself, and aims to explore the relationship between woman and the camera.[21][23] The films were shown in Museum of Modern Art in 2016, and at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in February 2016.[24][21]

Through the experience of shooting the artist's daily attire with video camera, the document also ends up serving to become visual capsule of time and place, specifically, what it was like living in New York during the span of the work's creation.[23]

Exhibitions and collections[edit]

Solo Exhibitions[1][edit]

  • 2005, New Report (collaboration with Wynne Greenwood), Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, NY
  • 2009, Position Series, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, NY
  • 2010, FeminismFormalism, Galerie Sonja Junkers, Munich, Germany
  • 2010, Freeing the Natural Voice, on the Perpetual Horizon of Devastation, Some Notes on Lying, Hard Hat, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2011, K8 Hardy, Galerie BaliceHertling, Paris, France
  • 2015, NEW CUTS K8 HARDY, University of California, Irvine

Group Exhibitions[1][edit]

  • 2009, Reflections on Electric Mirror: New Feminist Video, Brooklyn Museum, NY
  • 2010, 50 Artists Photograph the Future, Higher Pictures, New York, NY
  • 2010, Fluorescent Adolescent, Schunck: Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts, Heerlen, The Netherlands
  • 2010, Greater New York, MoMA PS1, Queens, NY
  • 2012, Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
  • 2015, Outfitumentary, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, NY
  • 2016, Outfitumentary, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Further reading[edit]

A project by K8 Hardy. (2014). Flash Art International, 47(298), 87–92.

Browne, A. (2012, May 24). High Performance | K8 Hardy's 'Untitled Runway Show'. The New York Times. https://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/high-performance-k8-hardys-untitled-runway-show/.

Burton, J. (2005, August). Girl, Interrupted. Reena Spaulings Fine Art. http://www.reenaspaulings.com/WK.htm.

Elisabeth, S. (2015, March 24). K8 Hardy talks to Elisabeth Subrin about her Outfitumentary. K8 Hardy talks to Elisabeth Subrin about her Outfitumentary - Artforum International. https://www.artforum.com/slant/k8-hardy-talks-to-elisabeth-subrin-about-her-outfitumentary-50920.

Frank, A. (2015, November 17). Interview: K8 Hardy. The FADER. https://www.thefader.com/2012/03/08/interview-k8-hardy.

K8 Hardy. K8 Hardy | Video Data Bank. https://www.vdb.org/artists/k8-hardy.

K8 Hardy. Whitney Museum of American Art. (2020). https://whitney.org/exhibitions/2012-biennial/k8-hardy.

K8 Hardy. YBCA. (2019). https://ybca.org/artist/k8-hardy/.

Menu. Higher Pictures Generation. https://higherpictures.com/artists/k8-hardy/.

Mouffe, C. (2007). Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces. Art & Research : Chantal Mouffe. http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v1n2/mouffe.html.

WYNNE GREENWOOD + K8 HARDY. Reena Spauldings Fine Art. (2005). http://www.reenaspaulings.com/images/WK.PR.pdf


  1. ^ a b c d e f g (2018, March 26). Hardy, K8. Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Retrieved 14 Dec. 2020, from https://www-oxfordartonline-com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/benezit/view/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.001.0001/acref-9780199773787-e-2297903.
  2. ^ Hardy, K8 (2019). "K8 Hardy CV". reenaspaulings.com/. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "K8 Hardy – Higher Pictures Generation". Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  4. ^ a b Trebay, Guy (2009-09-30). "Playing Dress Up for Keeps (Published 2009)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  5. ^ a b (2018, March 26). Hardy, K8. Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Retrieved 14 Dec. 2020, from https://www-oxfordartonline-com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/benezit/view/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.001.0001/acref-9780199773787-e-2297903.
  6. ^ Wilson, Eric (2012-05-17). "Art's Turn on the Catwalk (Published 2012)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  7. ^ a b c d White, M. (2008). Opposition + Equivocation: K8 Hardy. Art Papers, 32(3), 18–23.
  8. ^ a b "K8 Hardy by Ariana Reines - BOMB Magazine". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  9. ^ a b c d Campbell, A. (2015). K8 Hardy. Aperture, 218, 104–109.
  10. ^ Sauer, Jennifer (2020-06-11). "Style is K8 Hardy's Choice Medium for Identity Expression". CR Fashion Book. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  11. ^ "About | LTTR". lttr.org. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  12. ^ a b Elkins, James; Burns, Maureen; McGuire, Kristi; Chester, Alicia; Kuennen, Joel (2013). Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-87793-0.
  13. ^ Bryan-Wilson, Julia. "Repetition and Difference: LTTR". Art Practical. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  14. ^ "W.A.G.E." Glass Bead. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  15. ^ "W◼A◼G◼E◼ABOUT". wageforwork.com. Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  16. ^ TUAZON, O., & HARDY, K. (2011). Hard Work. Parkett, 89, 186–191.
  17. ^ Wang, M. (2007). Streaming Creatures: a New Generation of Queer Video Art. Modern Painters, 19(5), 100–105.
  18. ^ a b Cotter, Holland (2005-05-20). "Art in Review; Wynne Greenwood and K8 Hardy (Published 2005)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  19. ^ a b "A New Team Under an Old Threat by Amy Dickson | ART LIES: A Contemporary Art Quarterly". web.archive.org. 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  20. ^ a b c Johnson, Grant Klarich (2015-08-27). "Grant Klarich Johnson. Review of "New Cuts, K8 Hardy" ". caa.reviews. doi:10.3202/caa.reviews.2015.102. ISSN 1543-950X.
  21. ^ a b c BALLARD, T. (2016). Dress up. Modern Painters, 28(8), 78–85.
  22. ^ Cornell, L. (2015). Self-Portraiture in the First-Person Age. Aperture, 221, 34–41.
  23. ^ a b Subrin, Elisabeth. "K8 Hardy talks to Elisabeth Subrin about her Outfitumentary". Artforum.com. Artforum. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  24. ^ "MoMA showing for K8 Hardy's Outfitumentary". MoMA's official website. February 28, 2016.