“And in my mind, I am watching the creeping excesses of those irises. Their purple-blue hearts. How they gather and wander. How they grow beyond the prescribed borders. And in my mind, this is where I choose to revisit him.”[1] “Sometimes I am empty for a very long time. I have no identity. At first it is frightening. And then it turns to an impulse of happiness. And then it stops.”[2]

Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York presents Splitsville smells like irises, an installation by Matt Morris that includes work by Christopher Backs, Lise Haller Baggesen, Rashayla Marie Brown, Angela Davis Fegan, Alejandro Jiménez Flores, Lee Godie, Kelly Lloyd, James Morris, Aay Preston Myint, Alan Reid, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Clara Ursitti. As is typical in his exhibitions, Morris’ work rests between studio production and curation, amongst Readymades, loaned artworks, and questions that upset easily read positions of authorship. A cross-stitched needlework by his father accompany photographs, video, prints, painting, and olfactory artworks contributed from an international coterie of makers—peers in Morris’ Chicago community as well as friends and role models hailing from New York, Los Angeles, Vienna, Glasgow, and beyond.

“Ambiguity, duality, the most suspect words of all, they don’t hear them, don’t understand them.”[3] “Even in the most insignificant details of our daily life, none of us can be said to constitute a material whole, which is identical for everyone…our social personality is a creation of the minds of others.”[4]

These artists and artworks delve into an examination of code switching, resemblance, imitation, and fragmentation as a set of interrelated strategies by which conceptions of selfhood, subjecthood, and identity might be disrupted. The gathered works collapse across a furniture arrangement redolent of the psychotherapeutic environment, serving as an apparatus that signals embodiment, modes of care, and a proposition of “being together” that is predicated on introspection as well as the kind of looking that galleries typically support.

“Everything works. Everything is acceptable. I speak of ‘discourses of reference productive of subjectivity’. What matters to me is clarifying criteria for getting beyond the oppositions….”[5]

While the inquiries that inform this exhibition proceed from longer stretching research questions about drag (as painting, as photography, as scent), queer formalism, and the ways that objects hold the potential to behave demonstratively to subvert codes of normativity in contemporary culture, there is also an urgency that prompts this project as a response to shifts in dominant power in the United States. What may have comfortably performed as playful investigations into how we theorize desire and selfhood previously is now distinguished as modes of survival that combine performed selves, upended authorships, and slippages between mediums and categories in order to philosophize forms of living beyond those fiercely defended by the Far Right in this country and in institutionally supported xenophobia around the world.

“If I’m loving ‘somewhere else,’ I am betraying the love of he or she who is waiting for me. If I am going off I am leaving, if I’m putting distance between us I already have to leave.”[6]


[1] Excerpt from the artist’s eulogy for his father, delivered 18 June 2018.

[2] Duras, Marguerite. No More. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998. Print, p. 15.

[3] Duras, Marguerite. “Wonderful Misery.” Green Eyes. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990. Print, p. 127.

[4] Proust, Marcel. Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Print, p. 21.

[5] Guattari, Félix, in conversation with Bracha Ettinger. “From Transference to the Aesthetic Paradigm.” A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari. Print, p. 240–241.

[6] Duras, Marguerite. “Solitude.” Green Eyes. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990. Print, p. 68.

Works included in the installation:

Christopher Backs
Parlor, 2016
video animation

Lise Haller Baggesen
Refusenik at the Office, Chicago, November 2017, 2017
digital color print

Lise Haller Baggesen
Refusenik V, 2017
found fabrics


Rashayla Marie Brown
Untitled (Vagabunda Series), 2016
photograph in found frame


Rashayla Marie Brown
Untitled (Vagabunda Series), 2016
photograph in found frame


Rashayla Marie Brown
Untitled (Vagabunda Series), 2016
photograph in found frame

Angela Davis Fegan
26 handmade prints from the lavender menace poster project, 2014–2018
letterpress, laser cut text, menstrual blood, dry pigments, rubber based ink on handmade and commercial papers

Alejandro Jiménez-Flores
a year after (still), 2017
soft pastels on raw linen

Lee Godie
Untitled (Self-portrait with Cash), n.d.
gelatin silver print
Collection of Robert Grossett


Kelly Lloyd
Kelly Lloyd (2), 2018
business cards

Matt Morris
Monochromes after Mondrian: 9, 2012, 2018
flashe on mahogany


Matt Morris
Monochromes after Mondrian: 10, 2012, 2018
flashe on mahogan


Matt Morris
Monochromes after Mondrian: 14, 2012, 2018
flashe on mahogan


Matt Morris
Monochromes after Mondrian: 16, 2012, 2018
flashe on mahogan

James Morris
Bethany Angel, ca. 1990
cross stitch based on pattern by Rebecca Waldrop for Serendipity Designs,
with gold frame and mat


Aay Preston-Myint
Untitled (Study: Horror Vacui) I and II, 2018
gouache and pencil on vellum


Alan Reid
Untitled, 2018
acrylic and oil on canvas


Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Bed, November 29, 2010
archival print
Collection Ivan Lozano


Clara Ursitti
Jeux de Peau (Sketch no. 1), 2012
Hand blown and etched glass bottles holding 10 ml of different fragrances. One containing the Serge Luten fragrance Jeux de Peau, and another the scent from a skin analysis.


Moon balance sculpture, n.d.
Personal collection of Matt Morris and Eric Ruschman


Marpac Dohm
White sound machine designed by Jim Buckwalter, 1962
Personal collection of Matt Morris and Eric Ruschman