• Katarzyna Kozyra, Summertale, 2008, still from a color video, 20 minutes 30 seconds.

    “Virtuoso Illusion”

    MIT List Visual Arts Center
    20 Ames Street E15
    February 5–April 4

    Curated by Michael Rush

    This exhibition examines how artists have long used drag not just to genderbend but also to invent new personae using a range of technologies. Featuring videos, installations, photographs, and documentation of performances by many of the usual suspects (Claude Cahun, Andy Warhol, the inevitable Matthew Barney), it also includes bracing trans and queer work by Katarzyna Kozyra, Kalup Linzy, and Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn. But in line with the exhibition’s subtitle, “Cross Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde,” it seems to be Ryan Trecartin who is the engine driving the show, with his rowdy refusal of stable identities altogether. “There are so many things to be, Sally!” one of his characters proclaims. “I know,” responds another, “and I don’t want to be any of them.” A catalogue with essays by curator Michael Rush, art historian Ara H. Merjian, and performance artist John Kelly promises to grant such lines some historical ballast.