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the unicorn is no 不 longer dead 死

hymn for chiron
oil on linen, chains, ribbons
47” x 47”

how to hobble a young horse
mini-dv converted to digital, sound

huang’s cowboy avatar Stirrup Steph with their animatronic horse, Diamond, re-enacts and distorts a found video tutorial of a cowboy demonstrating in disconcertingly domineering and gendered language “how to hobble a young horse.” Stirrup Steph inscribes themselves into the script in the way that they inscribe themselves into the frontier of the American West. 

green requiem for my self iii
oil on linen, sisal, stirrups, horseshoes
60 x 50”

rope elegy
calf hobble, oil, silk
5 7/8 x 11 3/8”

how to paint a rocking horse
VHS-C converted to digital, sound, carousel horse, windshield wiper motor, steel rod, bondo, adjustable 12v DC power supply, epoxy, wood, oil paint

how to paint a rocking horse, filmed on March 30, 2020 is an immediate response to these violently resurfaced histories and shifting degrees of visibility: a performative lecture during the stay-at-home order in Los Angeles, in which huang performs auto-theory from their kitchen while painting a mechanized rocking horse.

VHS-C converted to digital, sound, video, found footage
ft. MC Shaughnessy, video in collaboration with Andrew Siedenburg 

huang’s avatar presents herself in inauguration, a parafiction, to actualize the psychological melancholic desire to transcend the boundaries of her imposed racialized and gendered identity as well as a political tool and catalytic agent for mapping the material consequences of her presence in territories and narratives she is excluded from.

First founded in 1965, the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) is a contemporary society of artists dedicated to upholding frontier mythology. Their mission statement stresses commemorating “the memory and culture of the Old West as typified by the late Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and others and through realism and the narrative/figurative tradition, depicting ìauthentic representations of the life of the West.” These “authentic representations” predominantly come from the U.S. tradition of 19th Century images of manifest destiny, imbued with imperialist, self-justifying, and aggrandizing subtexts. Aside from the first and only indigenous member to be inducted in 1993, the CAA have always been composed of white men, and refer to themselves as a “brotherhood.”

requiem for my damsel
oil on linen, sisal, horseshoes
58 x 40”

Can “cowboy drag,” a form of racialized, gendered, affective drag, not unlike code-switching, an embodied passibility, provide a mimetic form of deception and self-preservation? What are the alluring possibilities that result from racial melancholia: self-contradicting negotiations with pleasure and pain, multiplicitous selves, identity and dis-identity formation?

studies in

stephanie mei 玫 huang 黄

rid of poison
video, sound
costume in collaboration with Tashi Fay

camera: Max Knight

Wearing the horn itself, huang takes on the Oriental monstrosity of the heraldic beast. The unicorn––its medieval wildness and Orientalist vigor––is historically depicted as in need of taming, often by the strength of the Scotsman in Celtic lore, the touch of the mother of Christ for Renaissance artists, or the love of a virgin maiden in writing of the Middle Ages. In rid of poison, the unicorn is alone. huang’s unicorn pierces its precariously sharp horn into dyed bodies of water contained by a thin layer of plastic, with suspensions of giant kelp, loose chrysanthemum flowers, pu-erh tea leaves, bladderwrack, ground turmeric, rosebuds and the like. The relationship between the unicorn’s horn and the liquid it dips into becomes ambiguous: which is doing the purifying? Repeatedly doused by pockets of contaminated liquid, the unicorn and its environment become visibly soiled in the process of wetting the unicorn’s horn. While subduing the unicorn was the most definitive feature of its imperial representations in order to affirm masculine, national prowess, huang’s unicorn is unchained, stained, and undead. 

oil on wood
16 x 16”

green requiem for comus
oil on linen, nickel chains
74 x 52”

how to hobble a young horse
mini-dv converted to digital, sound

four self portraits as a cowboy
In collaboration with V Haddad and Sam Richardson’s Self Portrait Service.

white vegetable i
16mm transferred to digital
video in collaboration with Erica Sheu

white vegetable ii 
16mm transferred to digital

white vegetable iii
16mm transferred to digital
video in collaboration with Erica Sheu

In Melancholy and Race, Anne Anlin Cheng remarks: “since the melancholic subject experiences resentment and denigration for the lost object with which he or she is identifying, the melancholic ends up administering to his or her own self-denigration.” She continues to elaborate that ìthe melancholic is not melancholic because he or she has lost something but because he or she has introjected that which he or she now reviles,” resulting in the melancholic “ choking on...the hateful and loved thing he or she just devoured.”

a forgotten poem, recently unearthed: Shanghai cicada

I wear ear plugs to sleep for the first time tonight,
the hidden floorboards of this new house
creak like no other home
I have lived in,
and no other city I have turned my cheek upon.

What I want to hear is the cicada’s cryptic murmur—
the sort of entropy that leads to stillness—what I want,
is to be overwhelmed by vibrations of night air
soft as the caress of soy-milk on wizened skin.

I have only known what it’s like to close my eyes
before the creaking stops, just as I have only
known the angiography of former homes,
the constant junk congregating in the suitcase in my car.

When I think about Shanghai, I think about:
Saturday ballet practice in the Sunland basement gym,
how the summers are
viscous, in the way that pus
from a wound is.
I think about the highways.

The mornings here in California are ear plugs strewn
across my quilt like orange soldiers laid down to rest,
and tea stains inside my mug, measuring the days
like the sea level.

Shanghai cicada