Tip of Her Tongue: Martine Syms "Misdirected Kiss"

Thursday, January 21, 2016 | 8:00 p.m.


The Oculus Hall at The Broad
221 S. Grand Ave
90012 Downtown Los Angeles , CA

The Tip of Her Tongue features feminist artists in performance who work with language and embodiment. With intense stories to tell, they experiment aggressively with the telling—working with words and how the body's relationship to language is mediated by histories large and small. These intimate performances explore the politics of representation—how gender is produced in, through, and as language; and how the stories we tell circulate around, move through, against, and with the body.

Guest Curator: Jennifer Doyle

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English at UC Riverside and a member of Human Resources Los Angeles (HRLA), a collectively-run art space dedicated to supporting performance and interdisciplinary modes of expression. She has programmed diverse performance events as a member of HRLA, and guest curated exhibitions for the Vincent Price Art Museum and LACE. She is the author of Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2013). Her artwork has been presented at the New Museum, the Studio Museum, White Flag Projects, ICA Philadelphia, and 356 Mission. Syms has lectured at Yale University, the Walker Art Center, University of Chicago, REDCAT, SXSW, ICA London, and MoMA PS1, among other venues.

Martine Syms is a conceptual entrepreneur based in Los Angeles who uses publishing, video, and performance to look at the making and reception of meaning in contemporary America. Misdirected Kiss is a performative lecture that tells a story about language, movement, and performance as observed in black female entertainers. Inspired by the curriculum of Maxine Powell, director of the in-house finishing school at Motown Records in the 1960s who thought that “class and style and refinement” would help her race become outstanding, this performance is a visual essay that traces how we construct and stage ourselves for the world. As artist Gordon Hall once said, "Politics is something you do with your body." 

The title Misdirected Kiss is drawn from a set of silent films in which white men accidentally kiss their black maids instead of their white lovers. This illicit contact typically takes place in between public and private space where vision is obscured. Syms uses this as a starting point to think through the ways that everybody wants to be a black woman, but nobody wants to be a black woman. Syms states, “I'm thinking about Kim Kardashian, LaVerne Cox, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé. But also myself, my best friend, my sister, my mother, my aunty, and my grandma."


Watch Martine Sym's The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto on KCET


Tip Of Her Tongue FAQ

What age is this program recommended for?

All ages

How long is this program? 

Approximately 60 minutes.

Where can I park for this program?

Parking is available at The Broad in an underground parking garage, entrance on 2nd Street. Parking with validation from The Broad is $12 for three hours on weekdays and $12 on weeknights after 5 p.m., and all day weekends.

How many tickets can I reserve at a time for this program?

6 tickets can be reserved per order.

I booked tickets, but now I can't come. Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer refunds at this time.