Commonwealth and Council

Julie Tolentino

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Julie Tolentino, or JT, (b. 1964, San Francisco; lives and works in Joshua Tree) is an Filipina-Salvadorean artist whose practice explores durational performance, movement, and sensual practices within installation environments as a way to explore the interstitial spaces of relationality, memory, race, gender, and the archive. Collaborative projects with artists including Stosh Fila, Aldo Hernandez, Abigail Severance, Mark So, and Robert Crouch extend into video, object- and scent-making, soundscapes, and texts drawn from the rich learning spaces of activism, advocacy, loss, and caregiving. Tolentino is a current 2018 MFA candidate and Dean's Distinguished Fellow of Experimental Choreography at the University of California at Riverside. Selected performances and exhibitions include Performance Space New York, NY (2019); EFA Project Space, New York (2019); 6th Annual Thessaloniki Bienniale, Thessaloniki, Greece (2018); the Lab, San Francisco (2018); Manila Contemporary, Philippines (2014); New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE (2013); Theaterworks, Singapore (2013); New Museum, New York (2013); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2010); Participant, Inc, New York (2005); The Kitchen, New York (2000); and queerupnorth, Manchester, UK (1998). Tolentino was featured in Madonna’s SEX book (1992), Red Hot and Blue’s “Safe Sex is Hot Sex” poster series (1991), and Gran Fury’s “Kissing Doesn’t Kill” ad campaign (1989).  


Tolentino led queer club spaces such as Clit Club, Tattooed Love Child, and Dagger at various locations in New York City throughout the 1990’s and was a member of ACTUP NY, Art Positive and House of Color Video Collective, and with Cynthia Madansky, co-created the Safer Sex Handbook for Women for Lesbian AIDS Project/GMHC. With Pati Hertling, they re-staged Ellen Cantor’s 1993 Coming To Power: Twenty Five Years of Sexually X-plicit Art By Women, which includes a catalog (I’m Still Coming, Capricious) and performance series (2016). Tolentino contributed to a group-penned essay: The Sum of All Questions: Clit Club in the GLQ Winter ’18 Queer Commons issue as preparation for a forthcoming book of recollections of the Clit Club tentatively titled: Guard Your Daughters - Clit Club 1990-2002 and was recently one of forty artists interviewed as part of the Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art. Selected awards and residencies include the the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant To Artists award in Performance (2019), Pieter Performance Dancemakers Grant (2018), Boffo Fire Island Residency (2018), Hope Mohr Dance Community Engagement Artist-In-Residence (2017-18), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Community Artist (2013-14), PACT Zollverein Residency, Essen, Germany (2012), Art Matters Foundation Award (2010 and 2015), CHIME Mentorship awards with Doran George (2010) and with Jmy Kidd (2012).


Tolentino is the editor of Provocations inThe Drama Review and has hosted one-to-one and small group artist and writer residencies at the FERAL HOUSE_STUDIO in the Mojave Desert since 2008.