“We hope to inspire the next generations of sex-positive, queer femmes,” Go! Push Pops told OUT FRONT. “And urge them to embrace their divine sexuality and love their bodies and know them intimately as their foremothers simply couldn’t.”
Go! Push Pops is a queer, transnational, radical, feminist art collective that’s been redefining what it means to participate in the art world since 2010. Under the direction of Elisa Garcia de la Huerta and Katie Cercone, the group has been active in New York City doing performance pieces that promote spontaneous action. As they aim to generate social change, their work can be hard to swallow for the less progressive viewer—and that’s the point.
After the pair met at the School of Visual Art in NYC in 2009, they quickly formed a friendship, and the collective began to fabricate mixing together performative video, fabric assemblage, kawaii/pastel rainbow aesthetic, and folk traditions such as shamanism and hip hop. The name for the group got constructed on a whim.
“We brainstormed all sorts of stuff, and eventually we thought Go! Push Pops was this nice mix of bubble gum pop, seduction, and empowerment,” they elaborated.
What started as a girlhood dream to start a band quickly evolved, as the collective became increasingly popular in New York’s art scene. Constantly creating work but never fully benefiting from it, they eventually decided to retire from the art world in 2017, taking time to explore their separate lives.
But after a very short hiatus, the duo has re-blossomed, and they still have almost a decade of work showing in art spaces, including a recent premiere of their 2016 sacred ritual performance—Yoni Puja: Incantation to the Cosmic Cervix at Karst UK— in a show titled I AM MY OWN PRIMAL PARENT. Additionally, they contributed to a three-day, flash, intersectional, feminist art exhibit called EMINENT DOMAIN in West Chelsea this past July.
“Go! Push Pops really laid the foundation for everything we are doing now, including breaking through all the veils of social conditioning and shame, which eventually led to Loving Ourselves,” they claimed.But, like other artists who deal with the crushing power of social media, their art has come under scrutiny for its nudity. When it comes to talking about sexuality and one’s body, it often boils down to how the media is representing certain sexual practices and identities.
Elisa and Katie are taking their power back from these forms of consumerism.
“While as young women, we do need to feel sexually liberated and at home in our bodies, whatever type of outward expression that might take, we also find that social media and commerce in general just chums off this sexual energy. And who’s really benefiting from free the nipple? Not the IG queens who started it,” they said.
Sex-positivity can often be a fine line between posting a sexy photo online and giving in to commodification, especially when everything is being processed by likes. And the pair has had to navigate this in their own work.
Feeling used and exhausted by how much competition exists online and in consumer culture, Elisa and Katie are working through what has and hasn’t worked in their collective over the years.
What they found was working was in their interactions with at-risk youth, LGBTQ individuals, POC, queer femmes, and other disenfranchised communities. In this socially-engaged work they found a feminine, shakti energy that helped to promote connection. They hope their work can serve as a healing function with, “A little spectacle, a little humor, tits, whatever helps the medicine go down.”
Getting back in touch with themselves, Elisa and Katie continue to create work that’s freeing, provocative, and contributes to healthy energy. Today, Katie and her partner, UNDAKOVA, started an Urban Mystery Skool called ULTRACULTURAL OTHERS in NYC, and she has become a trapper. Elisa has been creating organic electronic soundscapes in a project called “Auzit” and relocating back to her home in Chile.
The pair is eclectic and adamant about seeking their own journeys through the work they produce. And in the future, they hope to see art return to indigenous spaces, hip hop yoga circles, tantra and techno, community building, naked gardening, and respecting our ancestors and the Earth.
“We have dedicated our lives to this fight, and yes, still fully believe queer, sex-positive art is activism, is the revolution, is the natural evolution of human consciousness,” they told OUT FRONT.
“Remembering we are beasts of plenty, and not powerless zombies of lack as the one percent would have us to be. You can put your revolution into your blog, into your canvas, into your art squad, into your breakfast cereal, or into a postcard to your Mom. It all counts.”
All photos provided by Go! Push Pops.