Jay Lynn Gomez’s Tableaux About Transitioning Show Life Under Construction

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A version of this essay originally appeared in Reframed, the Art in America newsletter about art that surprises us and works that get us worked up. Sign up here to receive it every Thursday.

Who is Jay Lynn Gomez? That question animates the artist’s current exhibition at P.P.O.W in New York, and the answer is a bit complicated, ever evolving. Titled “Under Construction” and on view through June 15, the show poignantly and earnestly depicts Gomez’s gender transition—a process encumbered by the fact that Gomez had already achieved some art-world acclaim using her former name, having exhibited in major group shows like “¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and “Day Jobs” at the Blanton Museum of Art.

In 30 some paintings and mixed-media works, many of them self-portraits, we see Gomez contending with her new life. We see her newly subject to the leering gaze of construction workers, and getting accosted by a white woman for using the women’s bathroom at Fenway Park. Elsewhere, in one of the show’s best works, a 2024 canvas titled I am a work in ...


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Jay Lynn Gomez’s Tableaux About Transitioning Show Life Under Construction