Summer of Radical Love

June 24, 2017 - September 23, 2017


Summer of Radical Love 

JUNE 24 – SEPTEMBER 23, 2017


Expanding our programs to support emerging visual artists and innovative contemporary art practices, Transformer is honored to announce the launch of Siren Arts – an annual summer residency & exhibition program based in Asbury Park, NJ.

Pursuing different formats & themes each summer, this inaugural program features a diverse mix of more than 12 participating artists invited to develop and create works that explore cultural, racial, sexual, and gender equality via short-term residency experiences. Operating out of a storefront exhibition space at 529 Bangs Avenue, in Asbury Park’s historic business district located three blocks from the iconic Asbury Park Boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean, works in a variety of visual mediums will be presented via the exhibition Summer of Radical Love.

Centered within a site-specific installation by New York-based artist J. Morrison, with accompanying works by artists Caroline Wells Chandler and Ramekon O’Arwisters – both featured in the recently launched Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community coffee table book by John Chaich and Todd Oldham for AMMO Books – Summer of Radical Love will host an additional rotation of artists, new works, and events throughout the summer, including: limited edition multiples by DC-based art collective NoMüNoMü, drawings & prints by DC-based artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer, performance art events, and more. All programming is provided free of charge.

Siren Arts is a direct result of Transformer’s successful 2014 pilot residency & exhibition Promised Land in Asbury Park, NJ, which brought together 12 east coast based emerging visual artists to pursue creative research related to the city’s history and culture. Located in the middle of the northeast corridor of Washington, DC to NYC, Asbury Park is an iconic beach town known for its oceanfront, arts & music present and history, and unique Beaux-Art boardwalk architecture, hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors each summer. Supported by a special curatorial grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Promised Land exhibition, presented in the 5th Avenue Pavilion of the Asbury Park boardwalk, highlighted a diversity of visual mediums including painting, video, installation, sculpture, performance art, sound art, and photography. Over its six-week presentation, the exhibition was visited by more than 5,000 audiences members, built substantial opportunities for the artists, and increased dialogue around new & best contemporary art practices.



Curated by NoMüNoMü
July 29 – September 23

Opening Reception with the Artists:
Saturday, July 29, 6-9pm
529 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ

Transformer is thrilled to introduce BEACH SHOP, the latest addition of artworks to our Summer of Radical Love exhibition in Asbury Park, NJ. BEACH SHOP features new artworks created by DC based arts collective NoMüNoMü as part of Transformer’s new Siren Arts residency & exhibition program. 

Beach Shop is a multimedia installation that merges the realms of art, design, craft, conceptuality, and entertainment. The works featured mediate an interpretation of ‘radical love’ with the aesthetics of boardwalk surf & sundry shops. Participating artist include: Adrienne Gaither, Kaliq Crosby, Rose Jaffe, PLAKOOKEE, James Cole, Rex Delafkaran, and Wilson Butterworth.


NoMüNoMü is a DC based arts collaborative dedicated to creating new spaces for alternative articulations of art, based primarily on the idea that art should be a collaborative, educational, and at the very least fun cultural exercise, that always looks to challenge and critique the status quo. Founded by artists Joseph Orzal and Nora Müeller, NoMüNoMü engages a diverse selection of artists that cuts through divisions of race, age, gender and orientation, to create projects that push audiences and dialogues towards a truer understanding of arts intersectionality, so as to transform the contemporary arts field entirely.  


Queer Threads 

Works by Caroline Wells Chandler and Ramekon O’Arwisters are co-curated by Ickarus and John Chaich, in conjunction with Queer Threads, a traveling exhibition and coffee table book by John Chaich and Todd Oldham for AMMO Books. 

Spotlighting an intergenerational, international mix of 30 contemporary artists remixing fiber craft traditions, the art-book explores contemporary queer identities and expands the binaries of art and craft, masculine and feminine.  (Available for purchase throughout the duration of the exhibition) 

Caroline Wells Chandler

Caroline Wells Chandler is a New York based artist who employs hand crochet to create a family of works related directly to a queering of the body and identity. His featured work Bear Culture, for example, explicitly references the gay subculture of larger, hirsute men through an arrangement of vibrant, stuffed bears. Pile provides a more abstract and oddly violent perspective, which queers the body through its use of dismembered stuffed limbs. Christmas in July, a satirical ode to Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde [the Origin of World], explores a 2-dimensional visual of a gender non-binary figure clad in swimwear--here, a playful reference to the Asbury beach community.

Ramekon O’Arwisters

Ramekon O’Arwisters is a San Francisco based social practice and fiber artist who creates collaborative, community-based art projects infused with folk-art traditions and techniques to foster and support a culture of community building.  O’Arwisters’s Crochet Jams invite the public, friends, volunteers, and associates to participate in the traditional folk art of making rag rugs. As a thought leader, O’Arwisters engages the public in thinking differently about the role of art within community and the power of art within society.

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community

Curated by John Chaich, the exhibition Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community debuted at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City in 2014 and traveled to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2015 and the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts in 2016. Related programming and pop-up exhibitions have been presented at Arcana: Books on the Arts (LA), the Craft and Folk Art Museum (LA), MOCA Cleveland, the San Francisco Art Book Fair, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 2017, AMMO Books published a companion coffee-table book, designed by Todd Oldham and edited by John Chaich. This 192-page, hardcover, 8 x 10-inch artbook features full-color spreads of 30 an international, intergenerational mix of artists, along with intimate details of selections and artist studios, as well as an introductory essay by Chaich. To further examine how queerness informs their work in fiber and textiles, or vice versa, the artists are interviewed by makers and thinkers from the worlds of dance, design, fashion, media, music, museums, scholarship, and more—many members of the LGBTQ community themselves, and otherwise passionate allies.




Siren Arts is proud to present Brooklyn-based artist J. Morrison’s HOMOCATS: STEP YOUR PUSSY UP! 

J. Morrison first created the HOMOCATS during a 2010 residency at the Anderson Ranch in Colorado. Morrison’s new site-specific installation features wallpaper, screenprints, and related multiples that explore both the abundance of cat culture on the Internet and the intersection of art & activism. 

Playing off the viral phenomenon of the feline, the HOMOCATS continue their quest to fight phobias, propose equal rights, combat cultural stereotypes, and challenge social norms and stigmas. Paying homage to historic queer symbols such as the rainbow flag and pink triangle, Morrison’s work also pays a nod to pop art and pop culture with playfulness and humor.

Following the aftermath of the US election, and quoting RuPaul’s song “Step it Up,” the HOMOCATS propose you STEP YOUR PUSSY UP!

J. Morrison

J. Morrison is a multidisciplinary Brooklyn-based artist working in print, performance, and curatorial projects. Created in 2010, HOMOCATS is a visual art project appropriating the modern popularity of the feline. We aim to fight phobias, propose equal rights, combat cultural stereotypes, challenge social norms, and resist Trump.


EXHIBITION HOURS: Thursday – Saturday, 1-7pm, and by appointment. Additional Public Programs will be announced in mid-July 2017. 

Follow @SirenArtsAP throughout the summer for updates and additional details.