K8 Hardy is an artist working in performance, sculpture, photography, collage, publication, and other media. She is a member of queer feminist collective LTTR, has worked with the activist group W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), and is the creator of the zine fashionfashion. These commitments to feminist critique, queer politics, and economic advocacy are fundamental to her critical engagement of fashion and image production. Hardy’s work emphasizes the interconnectedness of these fields, often via self-portraiture and a sharply humorous embrace of appropriation. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, Reena Spaulings, and Higher Pictures, New York; Dallas Contemporary, Dallas; Tate Modern, London; The Künstlerhaus KM, Graz; Karma International, Zurich; and Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris, among other venues. She received a BA from Smith College, an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College, and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 2012, Hardy was a resident at BOFFO’s Fire Island Art Camp.
The images K8 Hardy posts on Instagram seem to move, body parts sliding over each other along with dissociated bits of landscape, costume, tchotchke, street and sky. Her photo-based collages are just far enough away from the “straight” images of Instagram as to pose subtle but lucid challenges to the verisimilitude of the platform. Despite Instagram’s corporate rhetoric of “instant” images, Hardy recognizes that its representation is no less mediated than any other technology of contemporary communication and visual culture. Instagram allows users to present entirely constructed subjective realities, often achieved through the use of selfies. Hardy’s frequent employment of this genre sways between outlandish, bored, and confrontational, and her diaristic captions often exceed the common terrain of status updates: “I’m not trying to be nice, stop the admiration of door mats”; “sometimes I feel the shame, but it moves through me really fast.” Hardy’s commission for ♥ Like: A BOFFO Instagram Project will push this practice further, working against the grain of networked representation and testing means of “jamming the feed.”