“Kalup Linzy is a true original talent!” — Molly Shannon, actress Keys To Our Heart, is a black- and-white narrative in which the artist stars as a misanthropic grande dame who dispenses advice to a trio of troubled young lovers. Linzy, who performs all of the characters’ dialogue, shot and directed Keys To Our Heart in the style of a Hollywood Melodrama, which was created for Prospect.1 New Orleans in 2008.
Kalup Linzy is a video and performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Stuckey, Florida in 1977, Linzy received his MFA from the University of South Florida in 2003 and that same year attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Linzy has been the recipient of numerous awards including a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in 2005, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2007 and most recently, a 2008 Creative Capital Foundation grant, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and an Art Matters Grant.
Linzy’s best-known work is the series Conversations wit de Churen, politically charged videos that satirize the conventions of the television soap opera. His works have been included in exhibitions as far ranging as Black Alphabet at The Zacheta National Museum in Warsaw Poland, and Frequency, Thelma Golden’s survey of new art by emerging artists of color at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Recently, Linzy’s work was included in Prospect.1 New Orleans, the first New Orleans biennial, curated by Dan Cameron; Modern Mondays: An Evening with Kalup Linzy at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Glasgow International: Festival of Contemporary Visual Art, Glasgow, Scotland, and 30 Americans, at the Rubell Family Collection, all in 2008.
His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, and Artforum. In 2007, New York Magazine named him one of the ten most promising artists. Rachel Wolf writes:
In “Conversations Wit de Churen,” Linzy is doing to daytime soaps what John Waters did to his Baltimore childhood. Part Richard Pryor, part RuPaul, Linzy writes, directs, and stars (wigged, heeled, and often scantily clad) in this series of shorts that are tender and vulgar, hilarious and heartfelt. “It’s a real homage to the comic geniuses within the African-American community,” says Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum in Harlem, where Linzy’s work was the sleeper hit of the 2005 show Frequency. With new YouTube video stars popping regularly, Linzy (who received a Guggenheim fellowship this year) has been pegged as a key figure in a new generation of “queer video artists.”
Kalup Linzy will have a solo show opening this April at the Studio Museum of Harlem.
Linzy’s work is included in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Kalup Linzy is represented by Taxter & Spengemann, New York.
Keys To Our Heart is part of the Localismo show curated by Wayne Northcross as part of Fusebox.