Kalup Linzy Likes It A Little Bit Off

By June 07, 2024

Filled with melodrama and comedic satire, Kalup Linzy’s video-based performances connect soap operas to the artist’s upbringing in a close-knit rural community in Stuckey, Florida. Figures and personal observations percolate in the works—from drug-induced violence to interpersonal gossip and betrayal—the artist, himself, stars as lead characters. 


Linzy implements drag in order to examine a range of performance tropes, including the stereotype of the high maintenance female lead to the scandalous nature of the “other” woman in a romantic triage. Comedic effect is added in the larger-than-life acting of Linzy alongside contrasting voice overs made by the artist for characters he does not play. Voices and the mouthed expressions don’t line up, an imperfection that Linzy notes as intentional. “When things are a little off, it gives a certain type of texture, a certain type of feel. It creates layers and tension. If you tell an interesting story, then it will make people forget about certain production values,” says the artist. Sexuality and explorations of personal queerness are key themes in the works.

This film is part of Burnaway’s partnership with Art21, an organization that produces award-winning documentary films about the world’s most groundbreaking contemporary artists. The collaboration intends to deepen an understanding of visual art that hails from the South today.

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