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Sharon Hayes

Born 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland
Lives and works in New York, New York

Through her performances, films, and installations, Sharon Hayes examines the intersection of history, politics, and speech, with a particular focus on the language of twentieth-century protest groups. Parole, the title of this installation, refers to the term used by Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure to distinguish individual acts of speech (parole) from a larger system of language (langue). In this installation, several distinct scenes present examples of public speech in different contexts. In each of the settings, which include Hayes’s recent performances as well as fictive scenes without an audience, the same figure appears, recording sound but never speaking. Hayes draws on historical texts—such as early lesbian activist Anna Rüling’s 1904 speech

What Interest Does the Women’s Movement Have in the Homosexual Question—that “re-speak” to new audiences. These historical speeches, and Hayes’s work in general, explore the construction of gender and sexuality and the articulations of political protest, revealing unexpected resonances across time periods. Parole encourages the viewer to think about how past forms of protest can inform the present and how the effects of public speech are altered in the process of documentation.

Read about the artist

Artist’s website
—shaze.info

Women’s Work
T Magazine/The New York Times (February 2010)

Sharon Hayes: Talk Show
Art Review (June 2009)

Sharon Hayes at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
Frieze (October 2008)

Julia Bryan-Wilson on Sharon Hayes
Artforum (May 2006; registration required)

Sharon Hayes: Art in General
Artforum (March 2006; via findarticles.com)