My work begins in my guts, rising from visceral desires whose intensity call to be acknowledged. I carry these acknowledgements as beacons, they lead to uncomfortable spaces within my psyche. My work unpacks a childhood narrative where I am abused, my dad is in prison, my mother is complicit, they both fail to uphold their responsibility as caretakers. I make art from this space of vulnerability, of a deep sense of self-annihilation that will not accept this history. I strive to envision an alternative world where self-empowerment practiced by all people constructs a compassionate and accountable society.
Photography is a medium that allows me to connect to people and influence our social world. That connection continues to be informed by a radical vision of world-reshaping that is neither utopic nor nihilistic– it acknowledges the suffering, anxieties, darkness, imperfections within all of us, but frames our shared trauma as the thread that connects us to one another. My eye as a photographer is one of listening, acceptance, and collaboration. I give my subjects agency to be in their own skin. Through an art-making ritual that we perform together, we meet on equal footing as agents in command of our own selves.
In my most recent body of work, “Z”, I explore gender fluidity with transgender, cisgender and a spectrum of gender non-conforming individuals. The series of nude portraits records intimate interactions developed over the course of a shoot; conversations that consider power dynamics, gender expression, what should be revealed or concealed, participatory consent. I focus on the eyes as a method of cultivating both agency and accountability. The subjects gaze directly at the camera, the viewer stands where I once stood. To redefine the typical artist/subject/viewer relationship by including the viewer moves the act of viewing outside of spectatorship. It compels the viewer to act; to become self-aware.
The images vibrate in time and space as object, performance, and ephemeral moment alchemized as silver particles on panes of glass. My photographs involve obsolete technology– Wet Plate Collodion— but my choice to use it is not nostalgic. It is a process that allows me to touch and transform all of my tools; mixing the chemistry from raw materials, building the cameras, polishing the plates. Processing a Wet-Plate image is slow and volatile, demanding presence in the moment. The materiality I am working with and the chemistry between myself and the subject is precarious, fragile, always slightly beyond control. The sense of uncertainty is critical to my practice. When I submerge the plate in the fixer bath and see the image sharpen through a cloud of white haze, it feels like magic.
This kind of magic is not fantasy. It is magic conceived in the realm of imagination, that crosses the threshold into reality. I see this truth in each image that comes into existence, rewriting memory. Art is my guide into the world of possibility and mystery that seeks to break away from legacy. The struggle against oppression, against limitation, against our own history is a deeply human fight. It extends beyond the individual, yet it is always personal. At times the fight seems bigger than me, vast and insurmountable; yet, I know that a singular ripple outward has resonance beyond the self. This is how I situate my art in the field of “social practice.”
My work is driven by a rubric of ethical aesthetics where form and process are inseparable. My images are often called beautiful, but I conceive of beauty as a point of access to world-shifting ideas. Beneath the surface my work reflects a system of belief, of making, of existence that overthrows a dark legacy by giving agency to individual voices to be seen on their own terms.
2007 BFA Parsons School of Design, New York, NY.
Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, “Z” , Brooklyn, NY.
Kesting/Ray, “On the River: Stories from the heart of glorious abandon, where you cannot see what lays beyond the next bend” , New York, NY.
Weldon Arts, “Dark Corners, Savage Secrets”, Brooklyn, NY.
FEATURED AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Peninsula Art Space, “Nothing Will Be Lost” , Brooklyn, NY.
The Bronx Museum for the Arts, “Bronx Calling” , Bronx, NY.
The Institute of Contemporary Art, “Experiment America”, Boston, MA.
The McColl Center for Visual Art, “America Now”, Charlotte, NC.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance, “Let Me Tell You About A Dream I Had” , Philadelphia, PA.
Addict Gallerie, “L’Art Urbain” , Paris, France.
Leo Kesting Gallery, “Dead Letter Playground”, New York, NY.
Thinkspace Gallery, “Refuge”, Los Angeles, CA.
Van Abbemuseum, “Heartland”, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Ad Hoc Art, “Gaia and Imminent Disaster”, Brooklyn, NY.
Irvine Contemporary, “Street/Studio” , Washington D.C.
Anonymous Gallery, “Pankabesia” , Brooklyn, NY.
Carmichael Gallery, “Mood Swings”, Los Angeles, CA.
Fountain Art Fair, New York, NY.
MassMOCA, “Being Here is Better Than Wishing We Stayed”, North Adams, MA.
Ad Hoc Art, “Poets of the Paste”, Brooklyn, NY.
Urban Angel Gallery, “Un:Corked”, London, UK.
Last Rites Gallery, “Dark Pop” , New York, NY.
Artlot, “Red Hook: An Exploration of Identity”, Brooklyn, NY.
Felissimo Gallery, “Senior Thesis Exhibition”, New York, NY.
RESIDENCIES AND FELLOWSHIPS
Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, Brooklyn, NY.
The Bronx Museum for the Arts: Artist in the Marketplace Program, Bronx, NY.
Taliesin: The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Phoenix, AZ .
Art Farm, Marquette, NE .
Jerome Foundation Fellowship, Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia, MN.
McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NC.
The Camera Club of New York Darkroom Residency, New York, NY.
Marina 59 Boat Reclamation Residency, Far Rockaway, NY.
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA.
The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA.
Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
American Photo Magazine, Critic’s Pick, Lindsay Comstock, “The 10 Best New Photography Exhibits of Summer 2015”.
VICE, Review, Matthew Leifheit, Gender Is Eternally Fluid in These Vintage-Looking Nude Portraits”.
Hyperallergic, Review, Arnav Adikhari, “Queering Contemporary Portraiture with 19th Century Photo Techniques”.
Huffington Post, Review, Priscilla Frank, “Tintype Portraits Of Genderqueer Individuals Are The Nude Artworks Of Our Future”.
The Wild Magazine, Interview, Nicole Zane and Emory Lopiccolo, “Robyn Hasty Challenges Perspectives On Gender And Body”.
Paper Magazine, Critic’s Pick, Gary Pini, “The 11 Art Openings to See This Week”.
Bedford and Bowery, Review, Nicole Disser, “This Photo Show Marks a High Point for the Transgender Movement”.
New York Times, Feature, Colin Moynihan, “Memorializing Traffic Deaths With an Artist’s Touch”.
MTV Re:Define, Interview, Tyrell Mooney, “Robyn Renee Hasty Studio Visit”.
Wall Street Journal, Feature, Emily Nonko, “Rockaway Arts Center Now Has a Location”.
Hyperallergic, Feature, Bianca Fortis, “After Sandy, Stilt City, a Space for Artists, Comes to Rockaway”.
ArtNet News, Feature, Sarah Cascone, “Artist to Turn Bungalow into Community Art Space”.
Rockaway Times, Feature Bianca Fortis, “Artist to Turn Bungalow into Community Art Space”.
Curbed, Feature, Jeremiah Budin, “Artists Need to Raise $100K for ‘Stilt City’”.
Vignette Magazine, Feature, “Homeland”, Issue #5
All That We’ve Met, Interview, Pauline Pechin, “Robyn Hasty wishes she could name all the constellations”.
Style & The Family Tunes (Germany), Feature, Isabel Kirsch, “Robyn Hasty’s Intimate View of a Different America”.
NPR: The Picture Show, Feature, Claire O’Neill, “Photographer Goes Off-Grid With An Antique Camera’”.
LaMono Magazine (Spain), Feature, Eunís Font, “Colapso y Regeneración”, Issue #73.
The Wall Street Journal, Feature, Benjamin Norman, “Brooklyn Sidewalk Provides Canvas for Art Festival”.
Juxtapoz, Feature, Cheree Franco, “Armsrock and Imminent Disaster: Refuge”, Issue #110
Juxtapoz, Interview, Cheree Franco, “Exclusive Interview with Imminent Disaster”.
The Village Voice, Review, Sam Horine, “Gaia and Imminent Disaster Slideshow”.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feature, Shane Graber, “This River Ride is a Trip”.
The Brooklyn Paper, Review, Ariella Cohen, “History on Display on Columbia Street”.
RADIO AND TV
NY1 News, Clodagh McGowan, “Artist Hopes to Bring Art Center to Rockaway Park”.
Clocktower Radio, David Weinstein, “Stilt City”.
Clocktower Radio, David Weinstein, “Robyn Hasty, Tintype Project”.
Marketplace (American Public Media), Tess Vigeland, “Photo Essay: People Engaging with Economic Collapse”.
“The Miss Rockaway Armada: Let Me Tell You About A Dream I Had” (catalog), Philadelphia Art Alliance, PA, 2012.
“Heroes & Villains: Portraits of Contemporary Artists”, Tatiana Willis & Roman Cho, Zero+ Publishing, CA, 2011.
“Street Art New York”, Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, Prestel Publishing, Munich, DE, 2010.
Basekamp, Panel Discussion: “Plausible Artworlds: The Miss Rockaway Armada”, Philadelphia, PA.
Conflux, Panel Discussion: “Swimming Cities of Serenissima: Making and riding beautiful junk from Koper to Venice with many dirty people, putting on a show, and then taking it all apart again.”, New York, NY.
The Brecht Forum , Panel Discussion “Squatting in South America”, New York, NY.