Monique Jenkinson (Fauxnique) is a multi-genre artist (dance, drag, theater, video) whose work often uses drag to consider the performance of femininity as a forceful, vulnerable and subversive act. She and her drag queen alter ego Fauxnique have created and performed in such varied venues as the Stud Bar, City Hall, YBCA and de Young Museum in San Francisco; the New Museum, Judson Church and the Stonewall in New York; and in Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, London, Rome, Catania and Zürich. Her cabaret shows Faux Real and The F Word have played in New York, London, New Orleans, Seattle and Provincetown.
As a de Young Museum Irvine Fellow, Jenkinson created a group piece inspired by the work of Jean Paul Gaultier, made space for kids to dress drag queens and premiered her acclaimed solo Instrument. Honors include a Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery (GOLDIE) Award for Performance, SF Weekly’s ‘Best Performance Artist,’ 7X7 Magazine’s ‘Hot 20’ and nominations for the Isadora Duncan Dance Award and Theater Bay Area Award. She has engaged in formal mentorships with Tere O’Connor and Stephen Petronio and founded the performance duo Hagen & Simone (2001-2007) with actor Kevin Clarke.
Jenkinson played Ismene/Eurydike in Anne Carson’s ANTIGONICK at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley (2015), THE DIRT in Taylor Mac’s Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco (2011), and Edie Sedgwick in David J.’s Silver for Gold at the Met Theater in Los Angeles (2008).
She created curriculum and taught courses at San Francisco Art Institute (2013), and St. Mary’s College of California (2015) and her writing has appeared in Dance History Scholars Newsletter and the online literary magazine Her Kind. She currently sits on the Artist Advisory Board for Friday Nights at the de Young Museum.
Artist Questionnaire for Double Exposure
How long have you been making your own work as a choreographer?
I have lived here since 1992 and have been making work for just about as long.
What does it mean to you to be a ‘West Coast choreographer’, if anything?
I don’t really identify that closely with being a ‘west coast choreographer’. That said, I know my work and identity are inextricably bound up with being here, specifically in San Francisco, which has its own intricacies of identity and culture.
Who generally performs your work – yourself, your company, a pick-up company, other companies, etc.?
I mostly make solos. When I work with others, be they dancers or other types of performers, I work quite collaboratively, although I usually have a pretty strong image of what I want to create.
Describe your aesthetic or choreographic style.
My work is multi-faceted (dance, theater, cabaret, visual art, video) but always comes from physicality and often uses drag to consider the performance of femininity as a powerful, vulnerable and subversive act.
Who would you describe as your most important influences in the dance field? How would you define your artistic lineage, if any?
My lineage is not just from Dance. My mentors have included Tere O’Connor, Justin Vivian Bond and Keith Hennessy. Other important influences are John Kelly, Cindy Sherman, Sandra Bernhard, Oscar Wilde and Michael Clarke. I emerged out of a feminist, postmodern, improvisational dance and choreographic lineage, but grew toward a tradition of radical queer performance that uses decadence and drag both to entertain and transcend. Yvonne Rainer said ‘no to spectacle’ so that I could say ‘yes’ to sequins. Rather than reject the traditional trappings of performance and the performance of femininity, I embrace them. My practice of feminism celebrates glamorous women as masters of artifice, and my intimacy with both the oppressive and empowering effects of feminine tropes allows me to create a zone of play from which I make my particular critique.
Where do you start with a commission like this – the relationship, an image, a piece of music, a movement phrase, etc.?
The personalities and abilities of the brilliant beautiful dancers and conversations we have.
Have you ever previously created a work this short? How does the duration impact your decisions/process, if at all?
I make a lot of work in the drag nightclub scene, so I make work this short all the time.
Do you often create duets? How much are they a part of your larger body of work?
From 2001 – 2007 I was co-founder and half of performance duo Hagen & Simone. A relationship not unlike that between the artists behind RAWdance.
How does the duet you’ve created for Double Exposure dialogue with your other work?
I haven’t created it, but I know it will be in dialogue with my other work. How could it not be? We will have to see just how that manifests, and I can’t wait.