Catherine Opie. Dyke. 1993.

What’s in a Name?

Words are personal in Catherine Opie’s photograph Dyke.

Catherine Opie’s 1993 photograph shows the word “dyke” tattooed on the back of a person’s neck. What does this striking image mean? And what about the word “dyke” itself? Who is it for? How is a word once used as a derogatory slur reclaimed by those who were its targets? These complex questions spark important, necessary conversations about belonging and identity within the LGBT+ community. For Ava Messina, this conversation is personal. As a member of Digital Advisory Board, she collaborates with the MoMA community to use her experience to develop online educational materials for teens. She joined Kerry Downey, a teaching artist in MoMA’s education department, to discuss Opie’s powerful photograph, the ways that art can provoke moments of connection and discomfort, and their own evolving relationship to Dyke.