DUETS: Frederick Weston & Samuel R. Delany In Conversation
Published by Visual AIDS, 2021
Frederick Weston and Samuel R. Delany come together for a wide-ranging dialogue, reflecting on their overlapping histories in Times Square, the deep impact of AIDS on their creative practices, and the ever-changing intersections of race, sex, language, and art.
With additional contributions by Bruce Benderson, Svetlana Kitto, and Tavia Nyong’o.
Limited time promotion! Frederick Weston's zine What Ever Happened to Freddy Darling? is available for 50% with the purchase of this DUETS book. (Promotion automatically applied at checkout.)
DUETS is a series of publications that pairs artists, activists, writers, and thinkers in dialogues about their creative practices and current social issues related to HIV/AIDS. These engaging and highly readable conversations highlight the connections between communities of artists and activists. Drawing from the Visual AIDS Artist Registry and Archive Project, this series continues Visual AIDS’ mission to support, promote, and honor the work of artists with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement.
Edited by Barbara Schroder and Karen Kelly of Dancing Foxes Press and Kyle Croft of Visual AIDS
Contributing Editor: Nelson Santos
Series initiated by Nelson Santos
Book Design: Tiffany Malakooti
Printer: Die Keure, Brugge, Belgium
88pp, perfect bound softcover
7.5 x 5.5 ins.
About Frederick Weston
Frederick Weston was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1946, and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he participated in the club scene before moving to New York City in the mid-1970s. He studied menswear design and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and held a bachelor of science from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was instrumental in founding the Zeta Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the university’s first African American fraternity. Weston was a self-taught interdisciplinary artist who worked in varied media: collage, drawing, sculpture, photography, performance, and creative writing. Over the course of his time in New York, he developed a vast, encyclopedic archive of images and ephemera related to fashion, the body, advertising, AIDS, and queer subjects.
In 2020, he received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’s Roy Lichtenstein Award and presented a site-specific installation at the gallery in the Ace Hotel in New York. Solo exhibitions of Weston’s work include Frederick Weston at Ortuzar Projects in collaboration with Gordon Robichaux, New York (2020–21); Frederick Weston: Happening at Gordon Robichaux, New York (2019); and Frederick Weston, A Retrospective: For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When All You Ever Needed Was the Blues at Ferris State University’s Fine Art Gallery (2011).
Weston exhibited his work widely in such group exhibitions as Souls Grown Diaspora, Apexart, New York (2020); A Page from My Intimate Journal (Part II)—, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Tag: Proposals on Queer Play and the Ways Forward, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (2018); This Must Be the Place, 55 Walker, New York (2018); Inside, Out Here, La MaMa Galleria, New York (2018); A Page from My Intimate Journal (Part I)—, Gordon Robichaux, New York (2018); AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism, Museum of the City of New York (2017); Found: Queerness as Archaeology, Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, New York (2017); and Art AIDS America, organized by the Tacoma Art Museum, in partnership with the Bronx Museum of the Arts (2016–17).
Weston became an artist member of Visual AIDS in 1998 and participated in countless Visual AIDS projects, performances, and panel discussions, including the reading event “Metaphors and their Distemper” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015). Weston’s work was shown in the Visual AIDS exhibitions Persons of Interest, Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, New York (2016); Everyday, La MaMa Galleria, New York (2016,); Mixed Messages, LaMaMa Galleria, New York (2011); Release, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York (2003); and Go Figure, the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, New York (2002).
Weston’s work has been lauded in the New York Times on multiple occasions and in numerous publications, including Artforum, the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, New York Magazine,and Hauser & Wirth’s Ursula magazine. In 2016, Theodore Kerr conducted an oral history with Weston for the Archives of American Art’s oral-history project Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic.
Frederick Weston died on October 21, 2020, after a battle with cancer, shortly before this book was published.
About Samuel R. Delany
A novelist and critic who has taught comparative literature, English, and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts and Temple University, Samuel R. Delany won four Nebula Awards and a Hugo Award by the time he was twenty-seven. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2002, by which time he’d also been chosen by the Lambda Literary Report as one of the fifty people who had done the most to change our view of gayness in the past half century. In 2013, he was named the thirty-first Damon Knight Memorial Foundation Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Delany was born and raised in Harlem, New York City, and first rose to prominence in the mid-1960s with his science-fiction novels and short stories, including Babel-17 (1966), The Einstein Intersection (1967), <Nova (1968), and what many consider to be his masterwork, Dhalgren (1975). His fiction experiments with form, structure, and perspective, and revisits themes of language, memory, societal norms, sexuality, and that which society considers sexually taboo and pornographic.
Delany’s science fiction and fantasy tales are available in Aye, and Gomorrah, and Other Stories (2003). Atlantis: Three Tales and Phallos (both 1995) are experimental fiction, while his four-volume series Return to Nevèrÿon (1979–87) is sword-and-sorcery. Most recently, he wrote the science-fiction novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (2011). His 2007 novel, Dark Reflections, won the Stonewall Book Award. Other novels include Equinox (originally published as The Tides of Lust in 1973), Hogg (1995), and The Mad Man (1994). Delany was the subject of a 2007 documentary, The Polymath, directed by Fred Barney Taylor. He has also written a popular creative-writing textbook, About Writing (2005).
Delany is additionally well-known and highly regarded for his seventeen volumes of critical writings and letters, as well as his book-length essay Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999) and the Hugo Award–winning memoir, The Motion of Light in Water (1988).
Delany has been a professor at three different universities— one of them twice. In 2015, he retired from Temple University. He currently lives in Philadelphia with his partner, Dennis Rickett. His website is www.samueldelany.com.