Feature in New York Times Times Style Magazine

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I am featured in an article in the New York Times Style Magazine reflecting on the history of Stonewall and how queer history informs my work, including my project Reflections on view at Brooklyn Museum in the exhibition Nobody Promised You Tomorrow. Read the article here.

Feature in Hyperallergic

Photo: William Jess Laird

Photo: William Jess Laird

Read my feature in Hyperallergic here.

Profile in Columbia Magazine


Read my profile in the Summer Issue of Columbia Magazine here.

In Conversation: Kiyan Williams and Darnell Moore


Join me for a conversation with writer Darnell Moore for an intimate evening discussing lives and creative practices of trans* and gender-nonconforming artists of African descent. Presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem in partnership with the New York City Trans Oral History Project.
RSVP here.

Date: June 17, 6pm
Location: The Langston Hughes House, 20 E. 127th St.

Interview on WNYC About My Work in Brooklyn Museum

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Rebecca Carroll interviewed me and artist Felipe Baeza for WNYC about our work in Nobody Promised You Tomorrow at Brooklyn Museum. Check it out here!

Review of Columbia MFA Thesis Exhibition on Hyperallergic


Read a review of the Columbia MFA Thesis Show on Hyperallergic!

Here’s an excerpt:

”Kiyan Williams presents a hauntingly poetic tribute, called “Untitled (For My Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother Salmoy Miller who was Emancipated from slavery in 1834)” (2019). The work is accompanied by three other related pieces, all of which use dried soil as a foundational material. The result looks dredged from the ground — the dead resurrected as sculptures to tell their story. It’s an approach not unlike what artists, including Wangechi Mutu, are serving at this year’s Whitney Biennial.”

Artist Talk at Portland State University


I’ll be giving an artist talk at Portland State University on May 14. More details here!

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow at Brooklyn Museum

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Nobody Promised You Tomorrow:
Art 50 Years After Stonewall

May 3–December 8, 2019
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052

Columbia University MFA Thesis

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Columbia University MFA Thesis curated by Regine Basha
Reception: Saturday, April 27, 3-6 pm
April 28 - May 26, 2019
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 West 129th Street
New York, NY 10027

Exhibition Catalogue for In Practice: Other Objects


The exhibition catalogue for In Practice: Other Objects is available on the SculptureCenter’s website.

Queer Disruptions 3 at Columbia University


I’ll be on a panel of artists and scholars discussing the relationships between queer art and queer theory at the Queer Disruptions III Conference hosted by Columbia University.

Queer Art/Queer Theory
Friday, March 1, 1pm-2:30pm

Jack Halberstam (Columbia University), moderator
Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University)
Xandra Ibarra (Independent Artist)
Iván Ramos (University of Maryland, College Park)
Kiyan Williams (Multidisciplinary Artist)

Location: The Forum, 601 West 125th Street, New York, NY  10027
Register here.

Trans/gression: An Evening of Performance Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of GLQ

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I’m curating an evening of performances, Trans/gression, as the closing reception for Queer Disruptions III (QD3), a queer studies conference hosted at Columbia University. The event celebrates the 25th anniversary of GLQ: a Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Artist included NIC KAY, Linda LaBeija, and Pamela Sneed. Learn more here.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2018 - 8:30pm
Location: Red Room at KGB, 85 E 4th St, NYC

Post-Screening Discussion for Marlon Riggs Retrospective at BAM


Sunday, Feb 10, 2019, 2pm
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAM Rose Cinemas

30 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11217

I’m excited to be on a panel discussing the legacy of filmmaker Marlon Riggs on the occasion of his retrospective Race, Sex & Cinema: The World of Marlon Riggs at BAM. Following the screenings of Anthems, Affirmations, and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien I will be in discussion with journalist Steven W. Thrasher; and Katherine Cheairs, filmmaker and founding member of the What Would the HIV Doula Do? Collective; Moderated by writer Darnell Moore (No Ashes in the Fire).

For more info and tickets visit here,

In Practice: Other Objects at Sculpture Center

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I’m excited to be included in In Practice: Other Objects, an exhibition of emerging artists at Sculpture Center. Read more here.

January 14 - March 25
Opening Reception Sunday, January 13, 5 - 7pm
44-19 Purves Street
Long Island City, NY 11101

Columbia University MFA Open Studios

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Columbia University MFA Open Studios
Sunday, November 11, 3pm
632 W 125th Street Suite 307
New York, NY

Bruce Nauman’s “Wall-Floor Positions” at MoMA and PS1

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I have been invited to re-perform Bruce Nauman’s “Wall-Floor Positions” on the occasion of his retrospective Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts on view Oct 21 - Feb 25. The exhibition is jointly housed at MoMA and MoMA PS1. I will be performing during selected dates/times at both venues for the duration of the exhibition (schedule below). This exhibition is the last time “Wall-Floor Positions” will be performed live per the artist’s request. I’m excited to approach this four-month-long project as a meditation on how Black trans/gressive bodies experience gravity, carry weight, and find equilibrium.  

10/26 - 1, 2, 3pm
10/27 - 1, 2, 3pm
11/3 - 4, 5pm
11/9 - 1, 2, 3pm
11/16 - 4, 5pm
12/8 - 4, 5pm

11/1 - 12, 1, 2pm
11/29 - 3, 4pm
12/6 - 12, 1, 2pm
12/16 - 3, 4pm
12/23 - 3, 4pm
12/30 - 3, 4pm

Artist Talk at Stanford University

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I’m giving an artist talk at Stanford University on 10/19. I’ll be discussing my use of dirt and earth as a material and metaphor to explore the African diaspora, bodily autonomy, and land sovereignty. I’ll also lead a workshop on sculpting with earth.

The Shed NYC Inaugural Artist

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I’m excited to share that I am 1 of 52 inaugural artists commissioned by The Shed NYC to produce new work for their opening exhibition in Spring 2019. You can read more here.

The Least Orthodox Goddess


I'm excited to show new work  in The Least Orthodox Goddess, a group show curated by Jasmine Wahi at Jenkins Johnson Projects New York. Featuring works by Felipe Baeza, David Antonio Cruz, Darío Calmese, Delano Dunn, Jonathan Gardenhire, Daniel de Jesus, Billy Ray Morgan, Zachary Richardson, and Kiyan Williams. 

September 9 - October 20, 2018
Opening Reception: September 9, 5pm
Jenkins Johnson Projects
207 Ocean Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225

Performance at Miranda Kuo Gallery

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Witnessorganized by Free Space
Friday  July 27, 4 - 6pm
Miranda Kuo Gallery
136 Eldridge St, New York, NY, 10002


I'm performing a full moon ritual at Miranda Kuo gallery. 

Exhibition at Times Square Space


feel that other day running underneath this one, curated by Sara O'Keffe
Opening Tuesday, July 10, 6-8pm
July 10 - Aug 10, 2018
Times Square Space
1500 Broadway (Entrance on 43rd Street), Times Square, NY 10036

I'll be showing a video installation, Untitled (Meditation on Gender and the Process of Un/becoming), for Columbia University's MFA Summer Show.

Artist Talk at Allied Media Conference


I'm showing excerpts of my project Reflections + giving an artist talk. Reflections is based on a video of Jesse Harris, a black transfemme artist, that filmmaker Marlon Riggs (Tongues Untied) recorded in 1988. This session will reflect on performance as queer(ing) history, archives as blueprints for intergenerational community building, and exhuming the voices of Black gender/queer artists from the archive.

Reflections in BlaQ: Performing Black Queer Archives
Friday, June 15, 2pm
McGregor: Room B
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Performance at The Jewish Museum

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I have been invited to perform an iteration of my project Reflections at The Jewish Museum. Reflections brings together voices from the past and present that speak to the diverse experiences of Black people who defy normative gender. Reflections is a part of an ongoing project based on critical and creative engagements with the archives of filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs, whose seminal film Tongues Untied (1989) gave voice to the lives of Black gay men in America. 

In Response: Scenes

Sunday, 4/29, 6:30pm
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York, NY 10128

Performance + Installation at Lenfest Center for the Arts

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Columbia First-Year MFA Exhibition, curated by Natalie Bell
March 24 - April 8, 2018
Lenfest Center for The Arts, 
615 W 129 Street
Opening Friday, March 23, 6-8p
Facebook Event  

Artist Talk at Princeton University

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I'm presenting a talk entitled Messy Bodies, Messy Subjects: Musings on Identity and Illegibility at Princeton University. Drawing on Black visual and literary culture, autoethnography, and my performance practice I explore a politic (possibility) of illegibility within the context of ongoing violence against Black, queer, trans, gnc communities.

Date: Tuesday, November 28th at 4:30pm
Location: 209 Scheide Caldwell House (Princeton University)

Columbia MFA Student Spotlight

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Read my interview on Columbia University's School of the Arts blog

Performance at Center for Performance Research


NYC: I am presenting a work-in-progress of Reflections in BlaQ , a performance that explores the lives and dreams Black queer people.  Reflections in BlaQ is based on my creative and critical engagements with Marlon Riggs' archives. 

Date: November 5th, 4pm
Location: Center for Performance Research, 361 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Revolution '67 Screening to Commemorate the 50 Year Anniversary of the #NewarkRebellion

22 July, 2017

22 July, 2017

This summer marks the 50th Anniversary of the Newark Rebellion, and the 10 year anniversary of the release of Revolution '67, an illuminating documentary by filmmaker Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno about the uprisings. Revolution '67 (86:46 min) follows the six-day rebellion in Newark, NJ that began in mid July in 1967, and uncovers how the spontaneous disturbances were a part of a community's resistance to poverty and police brutality. 

An open discussion after the screening will consider a question posed by historian Kevin Mumford: “How is Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 different from Newark in 1967?''


Feature on BuzzFeed 

6 July 2017

6 July 2017

I was interviewed by BuzzFeed about my performance practice. Check out the video here

Feature in Paper Mag X Posture Magazine

20 June 2017

20 June 2017

New York, NY: For pride month I was featured in a special collaboration between Paper Magazine x Posture Magazine highlighting genderfluid artist and creatives. Read here:

Performance for Visual AIDs' "VOICE=SURVIVAL" Exhibition

11 July 2017

11 July 2017

New York, NY: Artists Ni’Ja Whitson and Kiyan Williams will perform and present their work in response to Riggs’ declarative, affirmative practice in the context of a screening of his film Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret), 25 years after its creation. Williams will stage a performance  that activates Black queer and trans archives as part of their ongoing engagement with Riggs’ writings and films. Whitson will present their work and research from A Meditation on Tongues, a live interdisciplinary adaptation of the activist-artist Riggs’s iconic film Tongues Untied (1989).

Following the screening, performance, and presentation will be a conversation between Williams and Whitson, moderated by Tavia Nyong'o. More info here.

Date: Tuesday, July 11, 6:30pm
Location:  The 8th Floor, 17 W 17th StreetNew York, NY , 10001

Feature in AfroPunk

17 May 2017

17 May 2017

New York, NY: Read my feature + performance announcement on AfroPunk here

Help Kiyan Succeed at Columbia University

8 May 2017

8 May 2017

New York, NY: I'm very excited to share that I accepted an admissions offer to the MFA Visual Art program at Columbia University! 

I look forward to the opportunity to deepen my creative practice using art as a tool of social transformation. 

I launched a crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for equipment + resources I need in order to be successful in graduate school. Please donate and share if your are able! Thank you!


Unearthing Finale


Newark, NJ: I'm ending my national tour with a final workshop and performance in my hometown, Newark, NJ!

Workshop - 27 May, 2017 ;

Performance - 2 June, 2017 ; RSVP:

Location - Project For Empty Space, 
2 Gateway Center, Newark, New Jersey 07102.

Femmescapes Vol. 2 Release Party @ Bluestockings

6 May 2017

6 May 2017

NYC: Femmescapes is a zine collecting visual and written work by queer and trans people who experience an affinity with femmeness. 
Come celebrate the release of our second issue! 

Readings and Performances by: Janea Kelly, ray ferreira , Raquel Salas Rivera, Teal Van Dyck, and Kiyan Williams.

RSVP here

Spring Performances + Workshops

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This Spring I'll be presenting + exhibiting work on the east coast.
April 11 & 12 | University of Pittsburgh
Find more info here and RSVP here 
Aprul 19 | CUNY College of Staten Island
Find more info here
April 23 | Harriet's Apothecary Healing Village Spring Edition
Find more info + RSVP here 
April 27 | Paddles NYC with Doreen Garner
Find more info here
April 29 & 30 | Words of Fire Conference, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Find more info here 

Black W/holes at CUNY College of Staten Island

19 April 2017

19 April 2017

New York, New York: I'm performing Black W/holes, a live performance that meditates on the erotic and the sensual as catalysts for space and time travel. Performance includes movement and soundscape of original text layered with excerpts of Sun Ra's Space Is The Place. 

Location: 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island NY 10314
Date: 19 April 2017, 6pm


Alt(e)ar at University of Pittsburgh

11 - 12 April 2017

11 - 12 April 2017

Pittsburgh, PA: I'm presenting Alt(e)ar, a commissioned performance installation, at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh. In Alt(e)ar I embody an altar that honors the legacy of Black femme, gender non-conforming resistance. The performance installation includes a video and soundscape of unedited, archival footage from filmmaker Marlon Riggs. Visual artist Aya Rodriguez-Izumi created an original installation for the project.

Dates: 11 - 12 April 2017
Location: The Studio Theater @ The University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

FB page:

Black Light Exhibition at The Wattis Institute

red dust between (2017),  Rodney McMillian  16 March 2017

red dust between (2017), Rodney McMillian
16 March 2017

San Francisco, CA: I'm performing Black W/holes at the Black Light exhibition at The Wattis Institute at the event opening night. Black W/holes is a live performance that meditates on the erotic and the sensual as catalysts for space and time travel. Performance includes movement and soundscape of original text layered with excerpts of Sun Ra's Space Is The Place

Location: The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, 360 Kansas St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Date: 16 March, 2017 @ 7pm 

Unearthing at Williams College

10 March 2017

10 March 2017

Williamstown, MA: I'll be performing #Unearthing and giving a workshop at Williams College on 3/10 and 3/11 as a Distinguished Visiting Artist in the Art History Department. 

Kiyan Williams and Abdu Ali In Conversation

8 March 2017  Photo: Elijah Ndoumbé

8 March 2017
Photo: Elijah Ndoumbé

Palo Alto, CA: Check out a podcast of my conversation with Baltimore-based rapper and artist Abdu Ali hosted by Stanford University's Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Listen here

Astraea Foundation Global Arts Fund Recipient

2 March 2017

2 March 2017

New York, NYC: I'm excited to announce that I have been awarded the Global Arts Fund by the Astraea Foundation. Astraea's Global Arts Fund is a nomination-based award that supports, showcases and connects impactful art by LGBTQI people and organizations that are using art as a tool for social transformation. Read more here.

Review of Unearthing and Artist Profile on KQED

23 February 2017

23 February 2017

San Francisco, CA: A review of my performance Unearthing and artist profile by Sarah Burke was published on KQED. Read it here


New York, NY: My work is featured in the second volume of Femmescapes, a zine collecting visual and written work by queer and trans people who experience an affinity with femmeness.

From the editors: "For our 2nd issue, we asked our contributors a central question: How do we understand our femininity in this changing world, where fascism is escalating every day?" Learn more + get a copy here!

In Conversation with Abdu Ali

8 February 2017

8 February 2017

Palo Alto, CA: I'll be moderating a conversation with Baltimore-based rapper and artist Abdu Ali on Feb 8 at Stanford University. RSVP here 

A Eulogy for Science High School

3 February 2017

3 February 2017

Newark, NJ: Going home is always heartbreaking. During my last visit to Newark I witnessed my old high school building being demolished to make way for luxury condos.

I wrote a short, personal essay recalling memories from Science High School. Check it out here.

Unearthing - Stanford University

13 February 2017

13 February 2017

Stanford, CA: I'm excited to kick-off the #Unearthing Tour with a performance at my alma mater, Stanford University. Performance is 2/13, 4pm, at Meyer-Green. For more info + to RSVP

Artist-In-Residence, This Will Take Time

30 January - 4 March 2017

30 January - 4 March 2017

Point Arena, CA: I'm honored to be selected as an artist-in-residence at This Will Take Time, an artist residency in Point Arenas, CA. During my residency I'll be experimenting with creative practices that blend movement and painting techniques inspired by the Northern California coastline. 

Unearthing Tour 2017

7 January 2017

7 January 2017

I'll be touring my performance Unearthing - a moving and messy meditation on Blackness, gender, in/visibility, resistance, and transformation - across the U.S. in Winter/Spring 2017. 

Stanford University                         Feb 13
Williams College                             March 11,12
University of Pittsburg                    April 12,13
CUNY CSI                                       April 19