Silly Straw Genet
New Orleans, Louisiana
a.r. havel is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Payaya land, San Antonio, Texas. There, in collaboration with radical theater ensemble Jump-Start performance Co. and following the lead of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, he learned a community-activated form of artistic practice. Before moving to Bulbancha, New Orleans, he studied at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. From carnival parades to D.I.Y. punk pageantries, a.r. havel's work strives to spotlight the joy and theatricality of radical resistance. For the last year, he has recommitted to a photographic practice, culturally readjusting the lenses of medium-format cameras inherited from his late grandfather, a prolific wedding photographer.
Joan Mitchell Center Residency, 2021
My work often begins with historical research. From these inspirations, I begin to make preliminary sketches for photographs that bring these homages into the world of my wild unconscious... I build simple sets, paint, and adorn the environment with a flair for kitschy and campy queer aesthetics: a tchotchke must never be alone; why not shellac fish skins and make lanterns; paint neon outlines on vintage gay porn and give them Marie Antoinette pompadours.”