Visitors enjoy the 2011 MFA Graduate Exhibition at the Winery SF on Treasure Island.

Public Special Events


Criminal Queers
Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 7:30pm
Lecture Hall
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco,

SFAI’s History and Theory of Contemporary Art Department presents Criminal Queers, a film screening and artists’ talk by Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas.

Criminal Queers visualizes a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex and toward a world without walls. Remembering that prison breaks are both a theoretical and material practice of freedom, this film imagines what spaces might be opened up if crowbars, wigs, and metal files become tools for transformation. Follow Yoshi, Joy, Susan, and Lucy as they fiercely read everything from the Human Rights Campaign and hate crimes legislation to the non-profitization of social movements. Criminal Queers grows our collective liberation by working to abolish the multiple ways our hearts, genders, and desires are confined.

The film’s screening will be followed by a talk by the filmmakers, Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas.


Eric A. Stanley works at the intersections of radical trans/queer politics, theories of state violence, and visual culture. Eric is finishing a PhD in the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and, along with Chris Vargas, also directed the film Homotopia (2006). A co-editor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, Eric's most recent writing can also be found in the journals Social Text, American Quarterly, and Women and Performance.

Chris Vargas is a film and video maker based in Oakland whose areas of interest include queer/transgender history, tabloid biography, and radical politics. In 2011, he earned his MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. His solo video work includes Have You Ever Seen a Transsexual Before? (2010) and Libéraceon (2011). With collaborator Greg Youmans he creates the sitcom series Falling in Love . . . with Chris and Greg, and with Eric Stanley he is the co-director of the movie Homotopia (2006).