Michelle Handelman’s “Hustlers & Empires” on View at SFMOMA

On March 12, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present a new film commission by Michelle Handelman, Film and Media, titled Hustlers & Empires. The three-channel video work and live performance interweaves stories of three aging hustlers from different time periods who each find themselves pushed out of their own game and forced back to confront what their lives have become. The film installation will be on view March 12 through 18.

This new commission draws on the stories of three real and imagined hustlers, inspired by Iceberg Slim’s Pimp (1967), Marguerite Duras’s The Lover (1984), and Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit (1968). Handelman recontextualizes these historical and literary characters through three legendary performers—Shannon Funchess, John Kelly, and Viva Ruiz—in a queer, feminist framework, opening up questions of survival and belonging, and how they intersect with issues of race, class, and gender.

The performance is a part of Limited Edition, an online and live program organized by Open Space, the museum’s digital platform for contemporary arts and culture. In addition to live programs presented at SFMOMA and sister institutions CounterPulse, ODC Theater, The Lab, and Z Space, Open Space will feature newly commissioned essays investigating issues of legacy, appropriation, and ownership in performance art.

For more information, contact Handelman, (212) 217-3352.

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