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The Unsettlements: Moms

The Unsettlements is a series of projects initiated by JD Pluecker in 2018 that delve into sites of memory, silence, and ancestry, particularly in Houston and across what is now called Texas – locations where seven generations of the artist’s mainly German settler-colonial family have lived since the early nineteenth century. The project explores geography, family, and historical narratives, embracing their unreliability and surprises as a means to imagine ways of unsettling genealogical claims, of grounding beyond white nationalism, and of challenging white supremacy and heterosexism. The project also considers the idea of lineage through the lens of queer family, exploring how queer/trans organizing, benevolence, and embodiment are also legacies passed down across generations. As a body of ongoing activities, rituals, investigations, creations, and writings, The Unsettlements continues to evolve over time.

In this installation for the Art Gallery of Guelph, Pluecker presents The Unsettlements: Moms, a project developed first in 2022 for Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. The installation offers an opportunity to physically engage with an array of materials found and produced through the artist’s investigation into the lives and legacies of Claire D. Pluecker, their birth mom, and Linda L. Anderson, their adoptive dyke mom. Revisiting and revealing the complicated lives of these two women, the project reckons with the ideology of white supremacy that has informed the settlement of lands across North America as well as values of queerness and femininity in the same space and time.

The Unsettlements: Moms is organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph and presented with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.

Image detail: JD Pluecker, The Unsettlements: Moms (detail), 2022, large blue satin cloud with embroidered rainbow and beads, 50.8 x 68.6 x 20.3 cm. Photo: Madelynn Mesa. Courtesy of Texas State Galleries.

About the artist

JD Pluecker

JD Pluecker works with language, that is, a living thing, a thing of life and history. Their undisciplinary work inhabits the intersections of writing, history, translation, art, interpreting, bookmaking, queer/trans aesthetics, non-normative poetics, language justice, and cross-border cultural production. They have translated numerous books from the Spanish, including Gore Capitalism (Semiotext(e), 2018) and Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016), and forthcoming Writing with Caca by Luis Felipe Fabre (Green Lantern Press, 2021) and Trash by Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny (Deep Vellum Press, 2023). Their book of poetry and image, Ford Over, was released in 2016 from Noemi Press, and in 2019 Lawndale Art Center supported the publication of the artist book, The Unsettlements: Dad. From 2010-2020, they worked as part of the transdisciplinary collaborative Antena Aire and from 2015-2020 with the local social justice interpreting collective Antena Houston. JD has exhibited work at Blaffer Art Museum, the Hammer Museum, Project Row Houses, and more.

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