March 3, 2024


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Her guide dog inspired her art, and is featured in her museum display

Her guide dog inspired her art, and is featured in her museum display

How do you feel when your life changes in an instant?

Emily Juscio She was an art student at Cooper Union in 2010 when she was hit by an 18-wheeler while on her bike in Brooklyn. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she suffered a traumatic brain injury, stroke and multiple fractures. While Joseo eventually regained her life, she lost her sense of sight. She struggled to decide whether she could, or even wanted, to continue making art.

“I had to adjust this framework in my mind of what it means to be an artist,” said Juscio, now 34, who has always viewed her ability to draw and paint as her “ultimate superpower.”

From the age of four, her favorite thing to do was copy cartoons on television. Growing up in New Orleans, she would charge other kids 25 cents for the lessons she gave on the playground during recess. At the age of five, she began to suffer from hearing loss, which led to her increasing attention to images and facial expressions.

“I’ve become more aware of using my vision,” said Juscio, who now wears hearing aids. “That was my way of learning and understanding.” She attended magnet high schools for the arts, where she envisioned a future life as an artist with major museum exhibitions. At Cooper Union, in her delicate and stylized drawings and sculptures, she favored figurative forms and artefacts, using tangible, artisanal materials such as plaster and hair.

But after the accident that left her blind, Juscio was forced to confront “some inner capacity” that told her she could never work at the same level of ambition or work 15-hour days as she once did in the studio. She spent 11 months in a training center called Blind Incorporated In Minneapolis, he learned skills to navigate the world independently, including using a white cane.

“When I started doing it on my own, I imagined myself in a video game, playing to win,” she said.

There, in the woodworking shop, she also learned how to translate images in her mind using hand-to-hand coordination, rather than eye-hand coordination.

When drawing, she places her paper on a rubber pad called a Erotic blackboard She engraves lines while drawing with one hand, and follows them with her other hand to feel the images.

“I use one hand to see, and the other hand to sculpt or draw or manipulate things,” explained Juscio, who returned to Cooper Union, where she graduated in 2014.

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She learned to listen to her body and realize the importance of rest and the bed as a place to freely imagine her thoughts. Only then did she feel she could become an artist again.

“I allowed myself to kind of daydream about the work I wanted to do, and I wasn’t too rigid,” said Juscio, petite and pretty, sitting in her studio at school. Queens Museumwhere she resided last year in A Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists.

This week, Jussio’s youthful dream will come true with Wednesday’s opening “The other world” Her first solo exhibition at the museum, which runs through April 7. It celebrates her 13-year-old guide dog, London, and their mutual dependence. “I protect her and she protects me,” Juscio said. On a more global scale, her art seems to dissolve barriers between animals and the rest of the natural world.

The installation consists of three papier-mâché sculptures of mongrel dog-women—copies from London, reaching Jussieu’s five-foot height—dancing on their hind legs. They are playing around the maypole, which here is a huge white stick. These adorable and easy-going Londoners have colorful leashes flowing from the top of their 15-foot pole, no longer restricted.

Brightly colored papier-mache flowers are scattered across the wide circular platform. Crowned with a canopy of 600 papier-mâché leaves, the trees individually wrap around the gallery walls like a three-dimensional collage.

Three whimsical pen and crayon studies hang on the wall, one containing repetitions of London happily floating by. “The sheer joy that comes through in her work, it almost bounces off the page,” said Sarah Chu, an associate curator at the Queens Museum and a member of the judging panel that selected Jussio for the residency from among about 380 applicants. “There is this vibrating movement in the way the flowers are painted, where the petals seem to be fluttering.”

Jussio worked with London, an English Labrador retriever, for 10 years, describing her as “feisty and a bit bossy.” Their bond strengthened when the artist began her graduate studies at Yale University in 2017, where she felt very lonely for what she said was the first time. “London became my constant,” she said. “I was really craving intimacy and closeness.”

I explored their connection to the sculptures contained within Open communication exhibition at the shed, “True love will find you in the end” And in the group show “Crip Time” at the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, which featured two female dogs.

Juscio said her ongoing body of work depicting London was influenced by the writer Donna Harawaywhose feminist theories view interspecies relations as a model for breaking down all kinds of hierarchies, whether patriarchal or economic.

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“What if we didn’t center the perspective around humans?” Zhou said. “Emily’s combination of animal and human bodies makes you feel like you’re there in the world with them.”

Andrew Leland, whose memoir “Blind Country: A Memoir at the End of Sight” chronicles his experience with gradual vision loss, couldn’t stop thinking about the drawing he encountered last year at the Guscio Gallery. “The Big Other” in the Mother Gallery In Tribeca. Leland acquired the piece titled “London, Midsummer No. 1” — which the Queens Museum brought to life in 3D — and likened its “elegant primitivism” to the cheerful characters in Matisse “Dance”.

“Emotionally, the cane, to me, is the most stigmatizing aspect of this very stigmatized disability — it affects you immediately,” he said. “Emily had had the experience of being a blind person in the world and found this image of freedom deeply meaningful to me.”

Jussieux’s drawing became the starting point for a chapter in Leland’s book on the relationship of blind people to visual culture. “Having someone like Emily doing work in the international art market flies in the face of the image that many people in 2023 still view as a blind person as fundamentally incompetent,” he said. “Blind people not only care about visual culture, they produce it and push it forward.”

Artist Finnegan Shannon, who suffers from pain walking or standing, invited Jussio to contribute a visualization of accessibility for people with disabilities at Shannon Gallery “Don’t mind if I do” Through January 7 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Jussio created 3D-printed ceramics of London’s body parts, including her tongue and paw, which rotate around the room on a conveyor belt with other artists’ works, and are transported to viewers who can relax on plush chairs.

“I really respond to the theatricality in Emily’s work,” Shannon said, adding that people in mainstream culture tend to talk about disability in bleak terms, “It’s always a funny contrast to my experience as a disabled person where there’s a lot of humor.”

“I’m really excited about the way Emily relates these very specific experiences that she has in her everyday life,” Shannon said.

Gossiaux’s process always begins with drawing. It pulls from her visual, muscular and tactile memory. “I know what London looks like because I’ve seen a Labrador before, but I also feel her body by petting her and playing with her, feeling her face,” said Juscio, who completes the drawing in one go. of energy. “I also draw from my dreams because they are still very vivid.”

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When she translates the drawings into sculptures, her life partner and studio assistant, Kirby Thomas Kersels, helps her measure and shape the pieces using Styrofoam. Josieu applies layers of papier-mache and then paints them using her fingers instead of a paintbrush. “I found ways to make it a more tangible experience,” she said.

The artist will lead two “touch tours” of her installation at the museum for blind and visually impaired visitors on January 21 and April 7. said Juscio, who was working as an assistant Landmark at the Metropolitan Museum Touring to visually impaired audiences for five years before the pandemic.

Jussio’s ability to describe the works verbally helped Cho, the curator, write better audio descriptions herself. (Kercels, who lives with Jussieu and London, said he was first fascinated by the artist when he visited a Yale classroom and heard her presenting a student’s sculpture.)

Gossiaux’s daily presence in Queens has helped move the needle on the museum’s efforts to increase accessibility. To facilitate Gossiaux’s freedom of movement, employees installed raised tactile lines on floors throughout the office and studio spaces, and Braille on kitchen surfaces. In galleries, he now offers audio descriptions of each artwork.

Artist and professor researcher Lisa SylvesterThe Queens Museum likely learned a lot from Guscio’s residency, said he, who is deaf and also included in Frankfurt’s “Crip Time” exhibition. “There has been a lot of emphasis in museums on access programs and perhaps less on supporting artists with “Disabilities and their own way of moving through the world,” Sylvester said.

Jussio considers herself a disability justice activist, noting that for the first time in her work she incorporated the white cane, a tool for her independence. “Being out in the world with my white cane, or with London, would get in people’s way and annoy them,” she said. “But I feel like they are denying my right to be there or even exist.

“I Wants “The white cane will be in people’s way,” she added with gentle force. “I Wants To dominate space.

Emily L. Josio: Other worlds

December 6-April 7, Queens Museum, New York City Hall, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, (718) 592-9700;