Nayland Blake

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Nayland Blake (born 1960 New York, NY) is an artist whose mixed-media work has been variously described as disturbing, provocative, elusive, tormented, sinister, hysterical, brutal, and tender.[1][2][3]

Among his most famous pieces are a log cabin made of gingerbread squares fitted to a steel frame entitled Feeder 2 (1998). When it went on display at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, visitors furtively nibbled off bits and pieces of the cabin’s interior walls, while the smell of the gingerbread filled the gallery.[4] Another well-known work is Starting Over (2000), a video of the artist dancing with taps on his shoes in a bunny suit made to weigh the same as his lover, Philip Horvitz. The suit was so heavy that Blake could hardly move as he took choreographic directions from Horvitz offstage.[5]

Gorge (1998) is a video of the artist sitting shirtless being hand fed an enormous amount of food for an hour by a shirtless black man from behind.[6] In 2009, a live version of Gorge was staged in which audience members fed Blake.[6]

His work often incorporates themes of masochism.[6] Gorge follows two other major threads of Blake’s work: his biracial heritage—the artist’s father was black—and his pansexuality.[7]

Blake has had solo museum exhibition at the Tang Museum and was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial and that museum’s infamous Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art exhibition in 1994.[8] Maura Riley curated a retrospective of 30 years of Blake's art, "Behavior," which was presented in late 2008-early 2009 at Location One in New York City.[9] His work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Des Moines Art Center, among others.[10] He is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery, and lives and works in New York City.


  1. ^ Valdez, Sarah: Nayland Blake at Matthew Marks; Art in America, 2004 September
  2. ^ Rush, Michael: Nayland Blake at Mattche Marks; Art in America, 2000 September
  3. ^ Davies, Lillian: Nayland Blake PDF; Artforum, 20 July 2006
  4. ^ Blake, Nayland (January 2003), Some Kind of Love: Performance Video 1989-2002, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum, ISBN 978-0-9708790-9-7 
  5. ^ Carr, C. (2000-04-18), "Bunny Hop", Village Voice, retrieved 2009-09-28 
  6. ^ a b c Altman, Joshua (January 2009), "Nayland Blake @ Location One", Whitehot magazine of contemporary art 
  7. ^ Johnson, Paddy: The Guys We Would Fuck: An Interview with Nayland Blake; Art Fag City, 24 June 2008
  8. ^ Hood, Carra Leah: Nayland Blake’s ‘Invisible Man’; Yale Journal of Criticism vol. 8, no. 2 (1995), pp. 131-147
  9. ^ Hirsch, Faye (February 2009), "Nayland Blake: Location One", Art in America [dead link]
  10. ^ LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia Hawley, John C ed. Greenwood Press, 2008

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