Amber Tourlentes

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Amber Davis Tourlentes’ work explores the boundaries that communities create and exist within. Specifically, her work examines the organization of the gay community as well as it’s cultural and economical influence of the life of the city. Having grown up within the gay community, Tourlentes is particularly interested in understanding the processes of identification and inclusion. For instance, Tourlentes’ series Pride Parade Swag documents the eponymous iconic annual parade through an examination of logos and plastic promotional materials distributed throughout the event. This swag informs her documentation in flux, illuminating a disparate and pluralistic LGBT community. Tourlentes also considers whether examples of marketing to an increasingly visible demographic can help to historicize a political movement. To this end, she simultaneously investigates the ostensible gentrification of Boston’s Southend neighborhood and the corporate genealogy of the parade and continuous redefinitions of political class territories. Tourlentes’ larger body of work and research delves into the possibilities for contemporary American families to construct gender, sexual, racial, and class identities within the normative nuclear family model. This family portrait series revisits the conventional traditions of photographic practices for public and private archives. Amber Tourlentes received her BFA and MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has taught at Princeton University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Emerson College and Harvard University. Tourlentes has been involved with several activist organizations and political coalitions serving same-sex-parented and gay communities, such as GLAD, PFLAG, COLAGE, Family Equality Council, and The History Project, Boston. Her work has also been included in feminist, lesbian, gay, and transgender targeted publications, academic journals, and interdisciplinary panels. Amber was the guest speaker at the Kahn Institute at Smith College, Harvard University, Tufts University, Emerson College, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Hampshire College. See more of Amber Tourlentes' work here.