Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Featuring a series of bodies transformed by strict physical training regimes, Cassils’ artworks offer shared experiences for contemplating histories of violence, representation, struggle, and survival. Cassils juxtaposes the immediacy, urgency and ephemerality of live performance against constructed acts for camera. Bashing through binaries, Cassils performs transgender not as a crossing from one sex to another but rather as a continual process of becoming, a form of embodiment that works in a space of indeterminacy, spasm and slipperiness. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performantive purposes. It is with sweat, blood and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories.

Recent solo exhibitions include Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands; Trinty Square Video, Toronto; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. Cassils’ work has also been featured at the key art for the blockbuster exhibition at the Deutsches Historisches Museum and the Schwules Museum*, Berlin, Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre, London; MUCA Roma, Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Museo da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; and Deutsches Historishes Museum, Berlin, Germany. Cassils is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2016) and a Creative Capital Award (2015). They have also received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, Rema Hort Mann Visual Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation Grant, MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory) award, and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of the Arts. Cassils’ work has been featured in New York Times, Boston Globe, Artfourm, Wired, The Guardian, TDR, Performance Research, Art Journal, and Vogue Brazil and was the subject of the monograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven in 2015.

 

The artist at work. Photo: Luke Gilford

The artist at work. Image: Luke Gilford

 

NOTE ON GENDER AND PRONOUN USAGE  

Cassils is a gender non-conforming trans masculine visual artist. Cassils uses plural gender-neutral pronouns (they, them, their) and a single name (as opposed to first and surname) and asks that journalists do likewise when referring to them. This singularity of name and plurality of gender reflects through language the position Cassils occupies as an artist. For guidelines on writing about gender non-conforming people, please reference the GLAAD Media Reference Guide on Transgender Issues: http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.