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.
What’s in a Name?
Words are personal in Catherine Opie’s photograph Dyke.
Kerry Downey, Ava Messina June 24, 2019