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The Pride Issue

Pride Q&A: Partners and collaborators Britt Lorraine and Kristy Perez

Photo: Xelina Flores, License: N/A

Xelina Flores

Britt Lorraine and Kristy Perez

An illustrative story about Kristy Perez: She exhibited her sculptural work this year as part of “Bruit rose” at Maison Populaire, a contemporary art center in Paris. Her piece Fight! began when she found an old crutch on a trash heap near her Southtown studio. She decided to reify the crutch by covering it in 24-karat gold leaf. After she gilded this crutch, though, she hated it; she then attacked the gilded crutch with a kind of anti-craft, laying waste to waste, physically removing each layer of built-up material, reverse engineering down to the wood, which is itself burled and complex and beautiful. The process was a huge pain in the ass, but she bent to it, and it eventually represented in Paris, where she devised a stand installed into the gallery floor so that the crutch appeared to stand on its own.

Perez’s partner Britt Lorraine grew up, in part, tending cattle on her grandmother’s ranch in East Texas, where at the age of seven or eight she also aided her dad, a football coach, by acting as “waterboy” during hometown matches. She loved the players, the tension and excitement of the games, and working hard doing something physical alongside her dad. After a time, her father informed her that she could no longer do her job, and by way of reason, explained that she couldn’t be a waterboy but that she could be an off-field mascot; no girls on the field. It’s a slightly baffling, slightly abstract story with absurdist reasoning—the triangle of girl-mascot-waterboy, what their overlap was and what taboo she’d be breaking. As an adult, Lorraine has decided it was his way to obfuscate the in-your-face sexism within small-town community disapproval.

Nevertheless, Lorraine continued to embrace physical work and abstract ideation, studying dance at Southern Methodist University, earning an MFA from the University of Iowa and founding the dance company Saintlorraine in 2007. Eschewing traditional costuming and virtuosic solos, Lorraine’s choreography and performances take on the repetition of physical labor and finesse it with a staunch, strong shouldered-femininity. She performs in specialized street clothes, draped to support her gestures, her choreography also making daily toil a kind of prayer, unfussy, relatable, easy to internalize, hard to forget.

Together, Perez and Lorraine have created several performance installations. Perez assists in the concept and execution of the visual components like the set, while Lorraine choreographs and performs.

On her website, Perez writes, “As artists it is imperative that we create confrontational spaces in order to make room for pause so that there exists the potential for beauty to be uncovered in places and in moments that would normally go unnoticed.”

They made such a moment with us at Liberty Bar, in celebration of Pride.

How conscious are you of yourselves as a couple in public?

Britt Lorraine: I feel like the act of being together—although we like to stay in with the curtains drawn—the minute you open the door and walk outside, you are being “loud.” The act of us deciding to be together and live together and walking out the door is loud and it does bring the private public.

The Pride Issue 2014
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