Commonwealth and Council


Julie Tolentino


Commonwealth and Council hosts RAISED BY WOLVES, a multi-tiered exhibition of installation, objects, ephemera and performance by Julie Tolentino. RAISED BY WOLVES enacts a queer methodology in which experience intersects with intuition, and proposes a queer pedagogy wherein knowledge travels through personal, diasporic, and unanticipated relations.

Using gold threads, mugwort, taxidermy, and reverberations of a text from SHAME – A Collaboration by Kemper/Kelly, Tolentino reflects on the disjointed past of the gallery’s physical space. The site-specific installations SKY BURIAL and ECHO VALLEY attend to a lost stairway set afire and a once-concealed window. The sculpture SMOKE OF FUTURE FIRES pays tribute to the practice of 81-year-old painter, Ken Warne, who once lived and ultimately passed away in the side room resonating with notions of loss, precarity, and transference embedded in Tolentino’s  body of work.

Influenced by the lives, potentialities, and the wounds of the building’s past, Tolentino probes her own generation’s history and losses by reaching out to fifteen beloved visual artists. Embodying  their prompts, logos, and offerings, she stages choreography, improvisation and vocal incantations on-site, which incorporate daily physical practice and psychic exploration. Through a multidisciplinary navigation of care, resistance, and provocation, she reflects on the critical artist-to-artist exchange, proposing that we are invisibly “raised, incited, and moved by each other.”  

RAISED BY WOLVES is a temporal performance offered to intimate audiences. There will be fifty private iterations created over the span of the exhibition.  Viewers are invited to schedule a performance appointment or visit the overall exhibition during regular gallery hours. 

RAISED BY WOLVES artist contributors include: Rafa Esparza, Mark So, Catherine Opie, Taisha Paggett, Stosh Fila, Chloë Flores, Juliana Snapper/Miller Puckett, Jet Clark, Aliza Shvarts, Judie Bamber, A.L. Steiner, Zackary Drucker/Ellen Reid, Cyril Kuhn, and CW&C. Julie would like to acknowledge the supportive guidance and opening night performance of dancer/choreographer, Nicholas Duran and the enduring support, love and talent of Pigpen.

Tolentino’s performance career over two decades of dance, installation, site-specific durational performance including diverse  roles of host/producer/collaborator/mentor, working with artists such as Meg Stuart, Ron Athey, Madonna, Catherine Opie, David Rousseve, Juliana  Snapper, Diamanda Galas, Stosh Fila, Gran Fury, Rodarte and many others. Tolentino is deeply influenced by her extensive experience as a caregiver; a practitioner of Eastern and aquatic bodywork; a somatic-based and highly-disciplined contemporary dance career; and as the proprietor of NYC’s Clit Club (1990-2012). Her diverse and exploratory duet/solo practice includes installation, dance-for-camera and durational performance engaging improvisation, one-to-one practice, score-making, and working with fluids such as blood, tears, and honey.  As an extension of her practice, she designed and built a solar powered  live-work residency in the Mohave Desert: Feral House and Studio. After twenty-five years in NYC, Tolentino thus headed towards a shifting approach to the field by exploring the remote forms of physical inquiry through landscape and texts. She has received numerous grants and fellowships. She is currently a co-editor of the Provocations section of the TDR Journal/MIT PRESS. Her works have been commissioned (partial list) by The Kitchen, Participant Inc., Invisible Exports, Performa. In the UK; Spill Festival, Tramway and queerupnorth including extensive touring throughout the UK and Europe as well as the Philippines, Myanmar, and Singapore. Recently, she has been presented at Broad Art Space at UCLA, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Perform! Now!, and Move-In series at Honor Fraser. She created the “The Divine Immortal Fakery & Vulgar Smoke Apothecary featuring her Layman’s Bitter Golden Elixirs” at The Reanimation Library Project in Joshua Tree.