In an unusual move, acclaimed writer Roxane Gay was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the New York-based alternative art center, Performance Space.
Roxane Gay is a critically acclaimed writer who rose to fame in 2014 with Bad feminist. A collection of his essays, Bad feminist became a New York Times bestseller. His book 2017 Hunger: a memory of (my) body also received a similar reception. Gay is an outspoken social commentator, often focusing on complex issues of gender and sexuality.
Foray into art
Beyond his work as a writer, Gay is also a passionate art collector. She admits that what started as an occasional exploration of artwork quickly grew into an out of control passion. In an interview earlier this year, Gay revealed that his collection includes works by Kahlil Robert Irving, Jenny Holzer, Mickalene Thomas and Julie Mehretu. At an event hosted by Art In America, Gay also had an insightful conversation with painter Jenny Saville on topics such as fat acceptance and feminism.
Join the performance space
Roxane Gay has been associated with Performance Space for quite some time. She was first introduced to the center through her wife Debbie and has been on its board for a year and a half now. Still, selecting a writer for the post of chairman of the board is a pretty unusual decision for any arts organization. Most of the board members of arts institutions tend to be wealthy collectors and philanthropists. However, Gay’s selection was a calculated move to make decision-making more representative of the general population. Additionally, Performance Space is known for making such unusual moves, such as temporarily giving full control of the center to a group of artists.
In a statement, Roxane Gay said she would strive to continue to support experimental art and bring a “diversity of aesthetics “ to the organization. Jenny Schlenzka (Executive Artistic Director, Performance Space) added: “[Gayâs] opinions are realistic and well-founded: she wants a more equitable and accessible culture and sees how we can participate in the creation of this culture.“