Kay Turner

Agave Festival Marfa is honored to present the great Kay Turner.

Kay Turner is an artist working across disciplines including writing, music, performance, and folklore. Turner holds a PhD in folklore and anthropology from the University of Texas in Austin. Turner's dissertation research on south Texas Mexican-American women's home altars was expanded to become her book Beautiful  Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars. Turner has curated a number of exhibitions in an effort to bring recognition to Mexican-American folk arts. These include Arte Entre Nosotros/Art Among Us ( San Antonio Museum of Art) on contemporary folk arts of  San Antonio; Home Altars and the Art of Devotion (INTAR, NYC; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles; Museo de Arte Mexicano, San Francisco); and Hecho Tejano: Five Mexican-American Sculptors (Del Rio Arts, Del Rio, TX).  Her most recent writing projects include a feminist interpretive exploration of the origin legend of La Virgen de San Juan de Los Lagos, an aspect of the Virgin Mary widely venerated from Guadalajara north to the border and beyond.   

From 2000-2014 Turner was the folklorist for the borough of Brooklyn, NY, based at the Brooklyn Arts Council. Since 2002 Turner has taught courses  on gender and queer theory, ghosts and their ontologies, and fairy tale performance in the Performance Studies Department at New York University. Her other books include Baby Precious Always Shines: Love Notes between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklasand Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms

Turner's current book and performance project, What a Witch, queerly rethinks and rehabilitates the witch figure. Performance works for What a Witch include "Muses of Malta: Witch- Goddess- Madonna" (Fragmenta Contemporary Arts, Valetta, Malta, 2018); "Night Hags:Visitation" (Parsons School, NYC, 2018); “Hansel and Gretel Queered [Devouring]” (OUTsider Festival, Austin, TX, 2017); and "The Witch's Nose: Before and After" (A.I.R. Gallery, NYC, 2017).  Turner writes songs, sings, and has performed in numerous bands, notably Austin's rock punk, lesbian-feminist “Girls in the Nose,” (active 1985-1996), now touring again. A recent and continuing music project is called "Otherwise: Queer Scholarship into Song." 

Caitlin Murray