04/03/2015 09:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Where High Concept Performance Art Meets The Trashy Soap Opera

Many an art lover, no matter how classy her tastes may be, gets a certain buzz from vegging out in front of a trashy soap opera or a bawdy reality show. We certainly qualify. If you fit this bill, you better be keeping a close eye on performance art darling Kalup Linzy, whose portfolio takes the shape of a mutant hybrid of high brow art and low brow TV in the best of ways.

Linzy, born in Florida and based in New York, creates low-budget videos inspired by daytime soap operas, with Linzy himself donning a variety of characters, from talented and naive struggling starlets to conniving vixens who will do anything to get to the top. In his current solo exhibition, "Art.Jobs.Lullabies," Linzy adds to and remixes his ongoing drama-drenched mythology, divulging the lives of performance artist Pisces and video artist/singer Kaye, among others.


"The timing of Kalup’s work is a little bit off and causes a delay that is really funny," Thomas Lax, exhibition coordinator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, told The New York Times. "All his characters are trying to approximate an ideal, but they’re just behind or ahead of it."

Somewhere between Cindy Sherman, Ru Paul and Tim and Eric, Linzy crafts a glittery art world parody that captures the very real value of role playing in self­-actualization. In Linzy's words: "​I’m still learning where I fit in with all these personas... Sometimes these roles are embarrassing, but the more embarrassed I feel, the better it is for the audience, a relative once said to me. That creates a space of real freedom."

If you love the guilty pleasure of binging on YouTube music videos but hate the shameful aftermath, get ready for your holy grail. Linzy's two new videos, "Don't Make Me Over" and "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" premiere below.

Don't Make Me Over/We People Who Are Darker Than Blue from KalupLinzyStudio Films on Vimeo.

"Art.Jobs.Lullabies" will run until May 2, 2015 at Garis & Hahn in New York. See Linzy's blogs on the Huffington Post here.

Kalup Linzy


Artists Influenced By Cindy Sherman