Sun June 7, 2020

Leila Weefur: How to Eat Blackberries



POSTPONED. Stay Tuned.

Presented online in partnership with SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art [see statement below]. From June 1 to June 9, the public is invited to call (415)618-3281 to reach The Blackberry Hotline, featuring a four-course dinner story on flavor, desire, and hunger.

Image: Blackberry Hotline

Heavy Breathing presents How to Eat Blackberries: a participatory instructional led by Leila Weefur with special guest Elena Gross.

How to eat blackberries is a survey of Black consumption in a ceremony of dining etiquette. Leila Weefur and Elena Gross set the table to weed the fugitive language of Black performativity. This will be staged as a virtual dinner party, and as an appetizer to the main event, Weefur and Gross will share breadcrumbs in a pre-recorded audio narrative for participants to follow. Incorporating a dish made of blackberries, Leila Weefur and Elena Gross invite you to join as they dine their way through the touchstones of Blackness.

Image credit: Leila Weefur

In light of recent events, we offer this statement in solidarity with everyone who is standing against violence to Black lives and repression of Black voices.

Heavy Breathing and featured artists Leila Weefur and Elena Gross share our work with SFMOMA this week in the spirit of principled disagreement. We reject SFMOMA’s decision to censor community critique of the museum’s social media response to protests responding to the police murders of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, #RegisKorchinskiPaquet, #TonyMcDade and #AhmaudArbery.

SFMOMA’s apology fails to acknowledge that their act of censorship, in deleting and disabling comments on their May 30th post, is a silencing act that is complicit with and enables systemized violence against Black individuals. Heavy Breathing, Weefur and Gross support criticism of the museum’s initial media response to the protests. SFMOMA leveraged the words and work of black artist Glenn Ligon, rather than offering a direct statement condemning violence against Black communities. SFMOMA’s Community in Residence program is an opportunity to amplify dialogue with artists and the public, and this week’s work is presented towards that goal.


Leila Weefur (She/They/He) is a trans-gender-noncomforming artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, CA. Through video, installation, writing, and lecture-performances they examine the performativity intrinsic to systems of belonging present in our lived experiences. The work brings together concepts of the sensorial memory, abject, hyper surveillance, and the erotic. Weefur is a recipient of the Hung Liu award, the Murphy & Cadogan award, and the Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund. Weefur has worked with local and national institutions including SFMOMA, The Wattis Institute, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, New York. Weefur is a lecturer at University of California, Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute. They are a member of the film collective, The Black Aesthetic.

Elena Gross is an independent writer and culture critic living in Oakland, CA. She received an MA in Visual & Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts in 2016, and her BA in Art History and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2012. She specializes in representations of identity in fine art, photography, and popular media. Elena was formerly the creator and co-host of the arts & visual culture podcast what are you looking at? published by Art Practical. Her most recent research has been centered around conceptual and material abstractions of the body in the work of Black modern and contemporary artists. She has presented her writing and research at institutions and conferences across the U.S., including Nook Gallery, Southern Exposure, KADIST, Harvard College, YBCA, California College of the Arts, and the GLBT History Museum. Gross is the Exhibitions Associate at the Museum of the African Diaspora.

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Heavy Breathing ︎ 2018

Critical thinking often feels heady, abstract, and divorced from the body. How do conversations change when we are moving our bodies and out of breath? What new modes of thinking become possible?