1. SUSANA AIKIN AND CARLOS APARICIO, THE SALT MINES
This raw film follows the lives of three Latinx and homeless trans women who lived in abandoned garbage trucks on Manhattan’s West Side piers in the 1990s. Aikin and Aparicio’s committed relationship to their subjects reflects the harsh realities of sex work, drug addiction, and social marginalization. The Salt Mines made me nostalgic for a time when hyperformal cinematography and HD imagery weren’t the norm for documentary film.
2. “JOSÉ LEONILSON: EMPTY MAN” (AMERICAS SOCIETY, NEW YORK)
Leonilson’s art breaks my heart. I identify with his queer voice, and I see my and my community’s concerns reflected in his existential compositions about isolation, loss, and death. This small, carefully curated exhibition presents the complexity of his practice, from 1980s abstract paintings to embroideries and drawings that reveal his experience as an HIV-positive man during the AIDS crisis. The show is a first step toward giving Leonilson the place in art history he deserves....