Nayland Blake

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Nayland Blake
Nayland Blake.jpg
Born 1960
New York, New York
Residence New York, New York
Occupation artist
Notable credit(s) Feeder 2 , Starting Over
Partner(s) Philip Horvitz

Nayland Blake (born 1960) is an American artist whose focus is on interracial attraction, same-sex love, and intolerance of the prejudice toward them. His mixed-media work has been variously described as disturbing, provocative, elusive, tormented, sinister, hysterical, brutal, and tender.[1][2][3]

Nayland Blake attended Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, B.F.A. from 1978–82 and then moved to California. He attended the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, M.F.A., from 1982–84.[4]

Nayland Blake began displaying his work in 1985. 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] In 2009, a live version of Gorge was staged in which audience members fed Blake.[7]

His work often incorporates themes of masochism.[7] Gorge follows two other major threads of Blake's work: his biracial heritage—the artist's father was black—and his pansexuality.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

In October 2017 Nayland Blake participated in the performance series Crossing Object (inside Gnomen)[11] hosted by the New Museum[12][better source needed] in Manhattan (2017–18). Nayland Blake dressed as a bear-bison creature named Gnomen, which is Naylands official "fursona".[13] The New Museum described that Gnomen "can change sex and gender" while the furry suit represents Blake's hybrid identity.

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.[14] He is represented by the Matthew Marks Gallery, and currently lives and works in New York City.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

Public collections[edit]


  • Artist's blog[25]
  • Blake, N., Rinder, L., and Scholder, A. (1995)In a different light. San Francisco, CA: City Light Books.[26]


  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, July 20, 2006.
  4. ^ "Matthew Marks Gallery". 
  5. ^ Blake, Nayland (January 2003), Some Kind of Love: Performance Video 1989-2002, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum, ISBN 978-0-9708790-9-7 
  6. ^ Carr, C. (2000-04-18), "Bunny Hop", Village Voice, retrieved 2009-09-28 
  7. ^ a b c Altman, Joshua (January 2009), "Nayland Blake @ Location One", Whitehot Magazine 
  8. ^ Johnson, Paddy: "The Guys We Would Fuck: An Interview with Nayland Blake"; Art Fag City, June 24, 2008.
  9. ^ Hood, Carra Leah: "Nayland Blake's 'Invisible Man'"; Yale Journal of Criticism. vol. 8, no. 2 (1995), pp. 131–147.
  10. ^ Hirsch, Faye (February 2009), "Nayland Blake: Location One", Art in America [dead link]
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "New Museum". wikipedia. 
  13. ^ "Fursona". wikipedia. Retrieved 31 January 2018. 
  14. ^ Hawley, John C. (ed.), LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, 2008
  15. ^ "Nayland Blake: FREE!LOVE!TOOL!BOX!", Yerba Buena.
  16. ^ "Opener 3: Nayland Blake: Some Kind of Love — Performance Video, 1989-2002", Past Exhibitions | 2003, Tang.
  17. ^ "Nayland Blake: Hare Attitudes" (January 12–February 25, 1996), CAMH.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Nayland Blake, "Negative Bunny" in America is Hard to See, permanent collection inaugural exhibition of New Whitney.
  20. ^ Nayland Blake, Orange County Museum of Art.
  21. ^ Nayland Blake, MoCA, Los Angeles.
  22. ^ Nayland Blake, MoMA.
  23. ^ The museum holds, besides other works by Blake, the painting Made with pride by a Queen. Blake combined here a drawing by the German artist Fedor Flinzer with a phrase he wrote and laid out in type. Flinzer’s illustration was originally published on page 186 in the second volume of the Deutsche Jugend from 1873.
  24. ^ "The Collection". Retrieved 2016-11-03. 
  25. ^ Artist's blog
  26. ^ In a different light : visual culture, sexual identity, queer practice (00. ed.). San Francisco: City Lights Books. 1995. ISBN 087286300X.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]