Pato Hebert: Lingering

Faculty-Driven Exhibition #2
Curated by Associate Professor in Media Studies Ruti Talmor

January 22 – April 16, 2022

Pato Hebert, Lingering (2020), archival pigment print on silk charmeuse.

Lingering addresses the COVID-19 condition of long-hauling, in which ongoing COVID symptoms persist well after the initial infection. The exhibition traces the ongoing process of recovery as a site for healing, creativity, and questioning, and the frustrations of seeking care for the varied and extensive symptoms of long-term illness. 

Punctuating his regular visits to medical specialists and healers, ranging from a pulmonologist and infectious disease specialist to a neurologist, gastroenterologist, naturopath, and acupuncturist, Hebert found regular walks in Los Angeles’ Elysian Park integral to his recovery. During his restorative visits, he utilized his phone to make pictures that have become emblems of the pandemic. The Lingering series, which emerged from the first 19 months of the COVID pandemic, reflects a landscape that embodies geological, topographical, and epidemiological time, littered with the ephemera of fallen PPE and marked by gestures of protection, affection, care, and pleasure. 

The installation No Silver Lining (Long Hauling) is an archive of the disposable surgical masks given Hebert at his medical appointments during the pandemic. Electroplated in nickel, masks from over twenty visits to medical specialists and diagnostic testing are displayed in a timeline spanning the gallery walls, reflecting an unfolding narrative of medical needs and an allegory for the relentlessness of long COVID and the pandemic more broadly.

Floor-based text works of mirrored gold acrylic, wall-based works of salvaged materials, and a series of wooden spoon sculptures created from a salvaged eucalyptus limb—reclaimed after it had fallen in a storm—give life to the abstraction of living with long COVID. These works speak in and to the pandemic’s recognizable language of variants, surges, and the challenges of flattening of the curve, to bodily experiences such as flare-ups, exhaustion, and the need for touch, as well as collective experiences of spoonies (communities sharing the experience of chronic illness) and resilience.

This exhibition is the second in the series of Pitzer College Art Galleries’ faculty-driven exhibitions that connect directly to a faculty member’s course content. It also features unique glass sculptures created in collaboration with Pitzer Assistant Professor Sarah Gilbert. Throughout the exhibition Hebert will be collaborating with Gilbert’s students and those of exhibition curator and Pitzer Associate Professor Ruti Talmor. 

About the artists:

Pato Hebert is an artist, teacher and organizer. His art explores the aesthetics, ethics and poetics of interconnectedness. He works across a wide range of media including photography, sculpture, installation, text, design and performance. His creative projects have been presented at Beton7 in Athens, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Quito, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, PH21 Gallery in Budapest, the Songzhuang International Photo Biennale, and IHLIA LGBT Heritage in Amsterdam. 

Hebert is a COVID-19 long hauler, living with the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus since March of 2020 when he began publicly addressing the pandemic through art, advocacy and community building. His writing, images, collaborations and commentary on COVID have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesBOMBTheBodyArtsEverywhere, and NACLA — Report on the Americas

Hebert has also worked in HIV prevention initiatives with queer communities of color since 1994. These grassroots efforts at local and transnational levels have engaged social movements and community organizations to develop innovative approaches to HIV mobilization, programs and justice. He curated exhibitions and led creative initiatives at the International AIDS Conferences in Vienna (2010), Melbourne (2014), Durban (2016) and Amsterdam (2018). 

He serves as Chair and teaches in the Department of Art & Public Policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where his students have twice nominated him for the David Payne-Carter Award for Teaching Excellence. 

Sarah Gilbert is an artist and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Her current research explores craft and collectivity, emphasizing more-than-human actors and the particularities of encounter. Her recent projects include a collaboratively-built community garden at Faro Tláhuac in Mexico City and an interactive sound installation in a medieval Estonian tower – a satellite exhibition of the 7th Tallinn Applied Arts Triennial: Time Difference. She is an assistant professor of sculpture at Pitzer College, in Claremont, CA.