Inside the Art Studio of Nayland Blake

A photo of Nayland Blake at his apartment turned museum and studio


Nayland Blake is a New York-based artist and educator whose work is performative and multifaceted, usually centering on conversations around queer identity and politics. The artist also frequently deals with themes of a taboo nature, including hedonism, masochism, and other facets of kink. 


Blake’s “studio”, pictured above, is also the apartment that they have lived in for many years. Blake is not only an artist, but a historian, and in this photo it’s easy to see just a small segment of the massive collection of artworks and art objects from fellow queer artists that they have amassed over the course of their life and career. 


In this image of the artist’s space, we can see bookshelves lining every wall, creating a library of fascinating collected materials. There’s something about Blake’s apartment as a “museum” that feels very accessible -- though it is a private home, it seems inviting and slightly chaotic in a way that public museums rarely are. I wonder about the system of organization that Blake uses to categorize their artworks. There are many objects here -- hanging from the ceiling and walls, and stacked on surfaces -- that have the intimate feeling of arts and crafts done at parties, or as hobbies, or simply as a fun diversion. I imagine it would take weeks to explore this entire collection, even though the space is so small. 

Blake’s art often defies categorization by medium or subject. Many of the artist’s works are at once performative and experiential, like Gorge, originally a video of Blake being fed various foods by a collaborator, which has later been repeated as a live performance on multiple occasions. These performances hearken to the era of Yoko Ono or early Marina Abramovich, in that they test the limits of both the artist and the audience at once.

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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