LJ Roberts’s neon installation sleeping with clenched fists, dreaming with clenched fists translates those words into Yiddish and presents them against vintage tornado box springs. The work, which incorporates the handwriting of the artist’s father, honors their Jewish heritage and more broadly immigrant communities in New York for which the city serves as sanctuary. The piece marks rest and dreaming as inseparable from both sanctuary and struggle.

About the Artist

Image by Talisman Brolin.

LJ Roberts is an artist and writer working in installation, textiles, collage, and text. Their work addresses queer and trans politics, material deviance, alternative kinship structures, archives, and narrative.

LJ’s work has been shown in exhibitions at The Victoria and Albert Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Spring Break Art Show, Toledo Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, The 8th Floor, Museum of Arts and Design, Anthology Film Archive, Vox Populi, Smack Mellon, The Orange County Museum of Art, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, The Powerhouse Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Archives of American Art, La Mama Galleria, Oakland Museum of California, DePaul Art Museum, The ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at The University of Southern California, The Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art where their work is in the permanent collection.

LJ has been the past recipient of a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the Fountainhead Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, and residencies at IASPIS (International Artists’ Studio Program in Sweden–Stockholm), Ox-Bow School of Art, Pioneer Works, ACRE, Textile Arts Center, and The Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 2015, LJ was one of nine recipients of The White House Champions of Change Award for LGBTQI artists. They also received the 2019 President’s Award for Art and Activism from the Women’s Caucus for Art.

LJ lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and teaches at Parsons School of Design. Their first New York City solo exhibition will open at Pioneer Works in the fall of 2021.

Website: ljroberts.net

Instagram: @atelier.lj

Audio Guide

Click below to listen to the artist speak about their work.

Audio transcript available upon request.