Anastacia-Reneé: (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts

January 30 – April 25, 2021

Anastacia-Reneé’s poetry and performances are an assertion of presence that counteract the erasure of those who have been marginalized by American society. With an unflinching focus on collective liberation, her work is rooted in the Black feminist and womanist traditions, and their intersectional approach to addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, and class. In her writing, she plumbs the depths of the day-to-day experiences, emotions, and injustices that too often go unexpressed in order to transform silence into language and action. In this exhibition, Anastacia-Reneé offers a rageful meditation on gentrification and its insidious effects on the body and home, as seen through the eyes of her multilayered character Alice Metropolis.

Alice has appeared in Anastacia-Reneé’s literary and interdisciplinary work for the past seven years. (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts centers on Alice’s struggles against various forms of gentrification, some of them literal, as in her displacement from her home and neighborhood, and some figurative, such as the colonization of her body by cancer cells and of her mind by the anxiety and terror of navigating white supremacy every day. Presented as an immersive installation that invites visitors to walk through Alice’s home, the exhibition charts the ways in which she strives for wholeness and transcendence against interlocking forms of oppression that relentlessly fracture her sense of self.

Alice’s home is a place of both solace and nightmares, comic relief and deep frustration. Inside, she has built a spiritual sanctuary dedicated to "The Lorde"—a reference to Black lesbian feminist writer, mother, warrior, poet, and activist Audre Lorde (1934–1992)—as a source of strength and inspiration. Alice’s lived experience opens a window into the world of an individual attempting to stay one step ahead of the forces that seek to erase her essence and existence. As she writes, “in what life is a black woman allowed to be her own spin & her own chair? in what life is she allowed to sit as long as she likes & still be moving forward without being a moving target?”

Anastacia-Reneé (American, b. 1972, Kansas City, Missouri) is an award-winning, widely published writer, playwright, TEDx speaker, Deep End podcast cohost, and interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Seattle. A 4Culture Arc Artist Fellow (2020) and Jack Straw Writers Program curator (2020), Anastacia-Reneé was the Seattle Civic Poet (2017–19) and Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House (2015–17). She has been selected for fellowships and residencies by Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Cultural Center, Ragdale, Mineral School, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, and the New Orleans Writers’ Residency. She is the author of five books, including two full-length manuscripts, (v.) (Black Ocean) and Forget It (Black Radish), and two plays 9 Ounces and Queer Mama Crossroads.

Anastacia-Reneé received the 2018 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award, which is funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium. The award supports and advances the creative work of outstanding artists living and working in Washington State and is accompanied by a presentation at the Frye Art Museum.

Alice Metropolis (American, b. 1980, She/They/Unicorn) is a poet, collage artist, high school art teacher and recovering plant killer. A.M. is concerned with the way patriarchy, racism, and gentrification directly and indirectly (but always systemically) negatively impact BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color).

Anastacia-Renee: (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts is organized by David Strand, Associate Curator. Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the Raynier Institute & Foundation through the Frye Art Museum | Artist Trust Consortium. Additional generous support is provided by ArtsFund, the Frye Foundation, and Frye Members. Media sponsorship is provided by The Stranger.

Alice in Parts (video still), 2016. Digital video (black and white, sound); 30:36 min. Courtesy of the artist.

Anastacia-Reneé. Alice in Parts, 2020. Photo: Michael B. Maine.

Alice in Parts, 2020. Photo: Michael B. Maine.

Anastacia-Reneé. “The altar” from 9 Ounces at the Annex Theater, Seattle, 2017. Courtesy of the Annex Theater.

Anastacia-Reneé. Photo: Darya Husak.

Anastacia-Reneé. Installation view of Alice in Parts, 2016. Digital video (black and white, sound); 30:36 min. Courtesy of The Alice Gallery, Seattle.

Anastacia-Reneé. Alice in Parts (video still), 2016. Digital video (black and white, sound); 30:36 min. Courtesy of the artist.

Anastacia-Reneé. Alice in Parts, 2020. Photo: Michael B. Maine.

Anastacia-Reneé. Alice in Parts, 2020. Photo: Michael B. Maine.

Anastacia-Reneé. “The altar” from 9 Ounces at the Annex Theater, Seattle, 2017. Courtesy of the Annex Theater.

Anastacia-Reneé. Photo: Darya Husak

Anastacia-Reneé. Installation view of Alice in Parts, 2016. Digital video (black and white, sound); 30:36 min. Courtesy of The Alice Gallery, Seattle.