In “Stopping Traffic,” I literally stop traffic by completing exercises such as chair dips, push-ups, or cartwheels in the street. I complete these actions while dressed in a gown or my signature body suit from #operationcatsuit. Each time I perform the piece the performance moves from the back wall of a gallery or museum to the middle of the street. My inside actions vary based on the space, but always involve a stressful activity like stomping the wall in a handstand position while wearing heels.
The objective of this performance is to literally take up space and mark territory with the same boldness that I have often seen cis men take in public spaces throughout my life. I purposefully attempt to look good as I risk my safety for the performance. I think of work as a visual metaphor for how I am struggling to ‘make it’ in the art world. The goal is to stay sexy while I do it. As I see it, this is what many marginalized people are forced to do while trying to succeed in many fields across this country. For my Black America, it is an age-old coping mechanism, which has at times brought us joy, money, and fame.