Joseph Maida work is often concerned with portraiture. He has photographed the foreign quirks of Japanese culture in “Dream Factory“, and his quit but disconcerting portraits had always left an impression on me.
His exhibition highlighting his new series “New Natives” is opening later on this month at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York.
Full press release:
Daniel Cooney Fine Art is proud to announce New Natives, our first solo show by New York based artist, Joseph Maida. The exhibition includes 14 large-scale color photographs and one single-channel video.
The subjects of New Natives are aspiring male models of mixed ethnicity and race from Hawaii, whom Maida scouts through social media and photographs in their local landscape. Drawing from Hawaii’s royal history as well as its Eastern and Western influences, New Natives presents multifaceted visions of masculinity, identity, and sexuality, which upend conventional hegemony on multiple registers. In addition to a strong emphasis on native Hawaiians, the photographs portray men who are covered in tattoos of Polynesian, Japanese, and contemporary origins; who pose in traditional loincloths, Hollywood grass skirts, or nothing at all; who are gay, bisexual, transgendered, and heterosexual; and who identify as Cherokee, Chinese, English, Filipino, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kenyan, Kiwi, Laotian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Spanish, Thai, and Visayan. These unprecedented photographs expand the face of American manhood by depicting a cross-section of one of the United States’ most diverse and under-represented populations. Moreover, these timely, heroic portraits of Hawaii’s Millennials conflate the paradisal promises of virtual connections and exotic destinations with those of actual encounters in the Hawaiian landscape.
The accompanying video, Hula Kahiko Kane, further explores the complexities of shifting contemporary identities. Here, Maida offers up a private performance of a sacred, pre-Western hula by one of Hawaii’s premiere male dancers. For this work, the artist inserts a recording of his own racing heartbeat in place of the chant and drum, which typically accompany such a dance. A primal signifier of life, fear, and excitement, the accelerated pulse invites interpretations that are as layered as the dance itself. As in Maida’s photographs, Hawaii’s traditionally exoticized terrain provides the backdrop for this piece.
Joseph Maida received his B.A. from Columbia University and his M.F.A. from Yale University. He has exhibited in New York at the Queens Museum of Art, the Bronx Museum of Art, Artists Space and Art in General, among others, and internationally at institutions including the Reina Sofia National Museum, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, the Kunsthalle Wien, and the Nikon Salons (Tokyo and Osaka). His work has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. For the last decade, Maida has also been an influential teacher with appointments at Yale University, the School of Visual Arts, SUNY Purchase, and Parsons, the New School for Design.