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Marlon Mullen in “Pure Joy: 14 Disabled Visual and Performance Artists” at 1969 Gallery

June 29, 2022 to August 13, 2022

PURE JOY: 14 Disabled Visual and Performance Artists

Curated by Chella Man


Panteha Abareshi, Jezz Chung, Robert Andy Coombs, Shannon Finnegan, Emilie Louise Gossiaux, Jerron Herman, Gudrun Hasle, Rebecca Watson Horn, Christine Sun Kim, Chella Man, Kate Meissner, Marlon Mullen, Puppies Puppies (Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo), Tourmaline

Exhibition Dates: June 30 – August 13, 2022 

Opening: Thursday, June 30 from 6-8pm

39 White Street, Tribeca


1969 Gallery presents PURE JOY, a group exhibition of 14 emerging and mid-career artists curated by Chella Man. This exhibition acknowledges the persistent tokenization of disabled artists, contradicting this cycle by centering ideologies of pleasure rather than pain. The show serves as a reclamation and celebration of our humanity.

Kate Meissner, Peek-A-Boo, 2022, oil on canvas 48h x 72w inches

The range of the artists’ interpretations clearly uphold the reality of how vast perspectives expand within the disabled community. Some artists have chosen to directly center the literary tone of the word “joy,” and center feelings of euphoria and bliss. Christine Sun Kim’s Hand Palm sketch highlights the general process of communication when using a sign language interpreter — the information she receives is only ever an echo of verbal dialogue. Pure joy, for her, is clear communication, this thick echo symbolizing clear translation – which is demonstrated in her latest work. Robert Andy Coombs highlights the existence of joy through pleasure in his image Blow Job, alluding to the act without exposing it directly. Through a 2-hr live performance on July 9, Puppies Puppies (Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo) will express her joy through sharing pieces of her own story. After having a brain tumor removed in 2010, Jade’s brain was exposed to the external world and ecosystem. The tattoos on her forehead represent an ecosystem she created for herself, drawn where pieces of her skull were removed. Lying fully nude, coated in red paint, Jade will explain each tattoo which represents a collection of indigenous petroglyphs.

While many of the artists in the exhibition have directly highlighted joy as a subject, other artists’ work deals directly with struggle and pain. For these artists, joy is found within the process of creation rather than the final piece alone. Panteha Abareshi’s Care Transaction questions the fundamental spectacle of intimacy within relationships to the disabled body. The live performance allows the audience to engage with Abareshi directly. Books from their personal library on the varied topic of “care” will be available for participants to read aloud from. As words are read, Abareshi will transcribe each word on a typewriter, offering individuals who have chosen to engage a written receipt of the transaction of words between them. Shannon Finnegan’s sketch, communityhealthadvocates.org/healthcareqa/fight-a-denial/, was created after fighting with their company for 8 months to cover a basic diagnostic procedure. The sketch blurs the lines between humor and suffering: two worlds many disabled individuals are familiar with oscillating between in order to lighten heavy moments. These artists not only translate actions and ideas into visual connections, they transmute their own pain into joy.

Not only do the artists involved interpret “joy” with varied perspectives, the mediums included embody a wide range. From live performances, sculptures, paintings, and drawings to textile work and fabricated furniture – the diversity of this show easily mirrors the diversity within our own community.


Chella Man (b. 1998, Pennsylvania) is an American artist based in New York. His work explores the continuum of identity and deconstructs binaries within disability, gender, race, and morality.  His expansive identities as a Deaf, Genderqueer, Trans-Masculine, Jewish and Chinese artist inform a unique perspective that cannot be limited to one medium. Man blends the genres of fine arts and performance art while simultaneously exploring installation, sculpture, and film. Art serves as his visual loophole beyond verbal communication as this is often inaccessible and limiting in expression. He currently works as a mentor and artist-in-resident at Silver Art Projects located in The World Trade Center. He is the author of Continnum (2021), the director of The Beauty of Being Deaf (2021), executive producer of Trans in Trumpland (2021), fashion designer for his collection with Opening Ceremony (2019), Jericho in Titans of DC Universe (2019), former columnist for Them, Condé Naste’s first LGBTQ+ publication (2018). Man has also worked with institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Mana Contemporary, and will be exhibiting at The Leslie Lohman Museum and The Abrons Arts Center upcoming. This past year, Man published his first book, Continuum, highlighting the nuances of identity and to heal from systemic oppression.


Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

Melanie Adsit Advisory

Tilting the Lens

Quang Bao | e: quang@1969gallery.com

Madeline Ehrlich | e: madeline@1969gallery.com

About 1969 Gallery

Founded in September 2016, 1969 is a contemporary art gallery, with two gallery spaces in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Tribeca neighborhoods. Through solo / group / external exhibitions and art fair presentations, the Gallery has cultivated the careers of its represented artists and a broader community of artists primarily devoted to painting.


June 29, 2022
August 13, 2022
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1969 Gallery
39 White Street
New York, NY United States
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