Upcoming Events:


In This Body of Mine

Frederick Layton Gallery
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

October 18 – December 7, 2019
Fall Gallery Night, Friday, October 18, 5 – 9 pm

This group exhibition by the Strange Fire Collective features primarily photography and focuses on social justice themes that critically question the dominant social hierarchy and engages the community in meaningful dialogue about art, gender, race and equity, politics, history and more. Works are presented in traditional and digital formats.

The Strange Fire Collective, which comprises more than 120 artists, is dedicated to highlighting work made by diverse people, including women, persons of color, and queer and transgender artists. Participating artists include: Nydia Blas, Ria Brodell, Widline Cadet, Kahlil Irving, Robert E. Jackson, Rachel Jessen, Tarrah Krajnak, Natalie Krick, Birthe Piontek, Kalen Na’il Roach, Ganriel García Roman, Leonard Suryajaya, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, Paula Wilson


Exhibition at Canary Wharf, London

A selection of Butch Heroes will be on view at Canary Wharf Gallery in celebration of Pride in London 2019
July 2- July 28

Open daily
Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Canary Wharf


Reading at the Bureau of General Services- Queer Division

Lambda Literary Award Finalists Barrie Jean Borich, Zahra Patterson, Sandra Lambert and I will be reading at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division at 4pm on Sunday, June 2.

@ The Center
208 West 13th Street Room 210
NY, NY 10011


Butch Heroes is a Finalist in LGBTQ Nonfiction for a Lambda Literary Award


Artist-led Workshop
Wednesday, March 20
3:30 to 8:00 pm
Ages 14-21, FREE

Kamloops Art Gallery
101 - 465 Victoria Street
Kamloops, BC
V2C 2A9

Artist’s Talk
Thompson Rivers University, Old Main building, OM1562
Thursday, March 21
12:30 pm
All ages, FREE
This program is offered in collaboration with Thompson Rivers University


OUT at CHM: How It’s Written
Wednesday, March 27

Who tells our histories and how? Author and historian Owen Keehnen moderates a discussion that explore the nonlinear story of LGBTQIA people in Chicago and beyond from eras during which little was recorded beside police records and lurid headlines. Hear from Ria Brodell, visual artist and author of Butch Heroes, and Jim Elledge, professor and author of The Boys of Fairy Town, about the unique challenges of researching pre-Stonewall history.

6:30 P.M. program, reception to follow. $20, $15 members and students


Recent Press:


Butch Heroes

By Oliver Basciano
January & February 2019 Issue

Gender Warriors of Yore

By Irene Javors
December 21, 2018

9 Surprising, Macabre, and Illuminating Books for Art Lovers to Read Over the Holidays

From tales of great but irate artists to a mini compendium of teeny-tiny artworks, these books will thrill on the beach or by the fireside.

By Sarah Cascone
December 23, 2018

Best Art-Book Gifts According to Art Insiders 2018

The 20 Best Coffee-Table Books to Give, According to Art People

By Daisy Alioto and Maxine Builder

Artist Ria Brodell Offers an Enlightened View on Holy Cards (and History) with 'Butch Heroes'

By Sarah Boslaugh
November 29, 2018

Painting Untold Stories: SMFA alum and lecturer Ria Brodell’s new book tells the stories of twenty-eight “Butch Heroes”

By Taylor McNeil
November 29, 2018


Butch Heroes illustrations show the power of butch in history

By Amy Ashenden
November 21, 2018


A book of gender-role pioneers; witches in history and now; antique-book sellers, collectors gather

By Nina MacLaughlin
November 9, 2018


Lost Stories, Portraits, and His/Herstory On Display in ‘Butch Heroes’

By Aviva Stahl
October 30, 2018


Book Events:


MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Thursday, November 1st 6pm

Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

Wednesday, November 7th 7pm

Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

Saturday, November 17th 3pm




Recognize you when she sees you, Give you the things she has for you.

November 10, 2018 - December 22, 2018
Opening Saturday, November 10, 2018, 6–8pm

449 Warren Street #3
Hudson, NY 12534

SEPTEMBER presents “Recognize you when she sees you, Give you the things she has for you,” an exhibition of artists’ books from unique books to limited editions. Artists included are: Sonia Almeida, Polly Apfelbaum, Annie Bielski, Nancy Bowen, Sarah Braman, Dawn Breeze, Ria Brodell, A.K. Burns and Sophie Mormer, Cynthia Daignault and Curran Hatleberg, Patricia Fernández, Lilah Friedland, Kate Gilmore, Joanne Greenbaum, Bibbe Hanson, Tamar Halpern, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Laleh Khorramian, Melinda Keifer, Rosy Keyser, Rebecca Loyche, Shanekia McIntosh and Hudson Public Library, Xander Marro, Kate Newby, Emma Ressel, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Rachelle Reichert, Incident Report, Kay Rosen, Brie Ruais, Carrie Schneider, Nancy Shaver and Jackson, Barb Smith, Laurel Sparks, Odessa Straub, Brittany Tucker, Marianne Vitale, Letha Wilson, Carmen Winant, Sun You, and Suzanna Zak.



An exhibition of transgender and non-binary artists making work about the trans experience curated by Caleb Cole

November 5- December 6 with a Gallery Night Reception and Performances on November 15th 5-9pm.

University of Rhode Island
20 Washington St.
Providence, RI

The exhibit features the artwork of area artists Chai Anstett, Sam Bodian, Ria Brodell, Eli Brown, Caleb Cole, Leah Corbett, Arlo Crateau, Catherine Graffam, Jamezie, Rob Lorino, Cobi Moules, Lenny Schnier, Austen Shumway, J. Turk, Creature Karin Webb. Presented in support of the URI Honors Colloquium. Reimagining Gender: Voices, Power, Action, the works in the exhibit explore notions of Gender Identity and how we read gender pertaining to transgender and gender fluidity.



Artist Talk at Spaceus

I will be speaking about the Butch Heroes, the research, painting process and the book.

Tuesday, October 16th
Spaceus in Harvard Square
20 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Free and open to the public
7-9 pm


Mass Fashion: Past, Present and Future 

Friday, October 5, 2018 –
Saturday, October 6, 2018
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Barbara and Theodore Alfond Auditorium

“Mass Fashion: Past, Present, and Future,” a public symposium scheduled for October 5 and 6 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, explores the unique culture of fashion in Massachusetts. Speakers from academia, industry, and design discuss topics including the textile industry, immigration, technology, education, progressivism, and contemporary design."

I will be presenting on the Butch Heroes and the role that clothing played in their gender identity, their subsequent punishments, or acceptance within their communities. In addition, I will be sharing some of the research involved in the creation of the paintings.

Saturday, October 6, 2018
Session 4: Progressivism   10:30 am

Chair, Laura Johnson, Curator, Historic New England

Styling the American Suffragist: Fashion and Boston’s Battle for the Ballot
Raissa Bretaña, Fashion Historian

Butch Heroes: Clothing and Gender
Ria Brodell, Artist and Author

Recycled, Reclaimed, Sustainable Fashion: Less is More is Less… 
Suzanne Watzman, Tamaryn Design



"7 LGBT Books to Devour on the Beach or the Bus"

By the Editors of The Advocate

Butch Heroes is Ria Brodell’s colorful obituaries of masculine (generally queer) women and transgender men. Brodell, an author and artist, recounts the lives of several butches the way they should have been told: with portraits modelled after Catholic holy cards. A quick read, Butch Heroes is a fascinating, intersectional, feminist art-text project, and overall a rather wonderful reclamatory book of LGBT history that subverts and resonates in the human psyche. (MIT Press)—Diane Anderson-Minshall



A Conversation With Artist And Esteemed Butch Hero Ria Brodell

By Ellen C. Caldwell
July 10, 2018



Publishers Weekly
Nonfiction Book Review

"This is a serious—and seriously successful—queer history recovery project."



Big Red & Shiny Artist Residency: Inside/Out

For this residency I share some of the background details of my practice, as well as my thoughts on gender, sexuality, history etc.

January 29, 2018: Ria Brodell

February 26: Terms

March 27: Catholic Holy Cards

April 19: Face to Face


Lecture: Wednesday, April 11th

"Boston-based artist Ria Brodell will discuss the research and process involved in the creation of the painting series Butch Heroes. In this ongoing series of portraits, Brodell sheds light on gender nonconforming pioneers—historical figures whose lives have been hidden, and whose stories demonstrate how our ideas of gender identity have evolved over hundreds of years."

Public Talk 12:30 pm  the Davis Museum


Lecture: Tuesday, March 20th

I will be speaking about the work in the current exhibition Ria Brodell: Devotion on view at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum through May 13, 2018.

Artist’s Toast for Members ǀ 5:15 p.m. 
Public Talk ǀ 6 p.m. 

Free Admission courtesy PNC Financial Services Group


themstory: What It's Like to Be Trans at a Women's College

by Hugh Ryan
Feb. 1, 2018



BUTCH HEROES paintings recently acquired by:

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, FL
Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York, NY
Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA



Painting Lost Transgender Heroes

By Rozanne Els
Oct 30, 2017

Recent Exhibitions:


Ria Brodell: Devotion

January 20 - May 13, 2018

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789



Butch Heroes go on view at the Davis as part of New Acquisitions

Butch Heroes will be featured in the Davis galleries for the 2017–2018 academic year, with a rotation of seven works each semester.



The "Out of the Archives" Series 
October 23: Ria Brodell's Butch Heroes
6:00 to 8:00 pm, Monday, October 23, 2017

Boston-based artist Ria Brodell will discuss the research and process involved in the creation of the painting series "Butch Heroes." In this ongoing series of portraits, Brodell sheds light on gender nonconforming pioneers - real historic figures whose lives have been hidden, and whose stories demonstrate how our ideas of gender identity have evolved over hundreds of years. 

This is a free event, but RSVPs are required via Eventbrite

Read more about the Out of the Archives Series



Boston Art Book Fair

"Organized by Boston Center for the Arts and Bodega, the inaugural Boston Art Book Fair is an innovative and cutting edge event where international and local artists, thinkers, collectors, publishers and anyone drawn to the rich intersection of text and image convene to celebrate and trade print in all forms—including art books, zines, prints, catalogs and analog recordings."

Open To Public October 21 + 22, 2017
Saturday, noon-8pm
Sunday, noon-6pm



We the People

Minnesota Museum of American Art
The Historic Pioneer Endicott
141 East 4th Street, Suite 101
St. Paul, MN 55101

Three curators—Christopher Harrison, Maggie Thompson, and the M’s Diversity in the Arts Curatorial Fellow, Johnnay Leenay—consider the questions: What is American art? Who are “we the people”? Each curator’s unique perspective is reflected through artworks in a variety of media and cultural points of view. 

August 17- November 12


press for We the People on view at the M in St. Paul until Nov 12th

image credit: L to R, Susan Hauptman, Star Wallowing Bull and Bobby Rogers

The Star Tribune In 'We the People' art exhibit in St. Paul, four curators reflect on American-ness

MPRNEWS: Exhibition asks, who's the 'we' in 'We the people'?

MPLSART.com: E Pluribus Plures: We the People at the Minnesota Museum of American Art


Fair and Balanced? The ‘Roger Ailes Memorial Show’ Sets Artists Loose on the Founder of Fox News

A gaggle of artists give the late Fox News head a satirical sendoff.

By Brian Boucher
July 13, 2017



Gender Nonconforming Pioneers

by Scott Kearnan
July/August issue  

Read the full Article


Made Masculine

University of New Hampshire
Museum of Art
Paul Creative Arts Center
30 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824

The thirteen contemporary artists in this exhibition accept the framework that masculinity is made, fashioned, and modified generation to generation. Selected works of art explore the artifice of masculinity through themes such as strength, desire, and intimacy while posing the question: What does it mean to be made masculine or to make one’s own masculinity?

Guest curator, Lisa Crossman, Ph.D., Interim Curator, Fitchburg Art Museum.

August 30 - October 15


The Roger Ailes Memorial Show

Yours, Mine & Ours
54 Eldridge Street
New York, NY. 10020

yours mine & ours is pleased to present The Roger Ailes Memorial Show: Fair and Balanced, a group exhibition with:

Amy Bessone
Ria Brodell
Taylor Davis
Rochelle Feinstein
Nash Glynn
Cindy Hinant
Jane Fox Hipple
Sam Jablon
Tony Lewis
Gregory Lofthouse
Anahid Mishek
Siebren Versteeg
Allison Wade
Nicole Wittenberg
The Estate of David Wojnarowicz

July 6 - August 4


Butch Heroes find a home at the Davis

I'm happy to share that the Davis Museum at Wellesley College has acquired a number of the Butch Heroes paintings for their permanent collection. Be sure to visit!

Read More Here


    Artist Ria Brodell's Butch Heroes, video by WBUR's Robin Lubbock


WBUR: The ARTery 

Boston Artist Ria Brodell Finds 'Butch Heroes' Buried in the History Books

“We as queer people have existed throughout time,” says Ria Brodell, who has drawn inspiration from queer people throughout history for a series of paintings

By Greg Cook
March 21, 2017



Butch Heroes: Paintings by Ria Brodell

Limited edition of 300
signed and numbered

Printed and bound by Edition One Books
9 x 6.5 inches, softbound with gold foil embossing 75 pages, 25 images




Butch Heroes at Gallery Kayafas

March 3 2017- April 8 2017

Opening Reception March 3rd 5:30-8pm
Closing Reception April 7th 5:30-8pm

Book Signing and Special Gallery Conversation:

March 18th at 3pm

with Hunter O'Hanian, Executive Director of the College Art Association, Ria Brodell & Caleb Cole



MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas present: Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects

Henry Art Gallery
University of Washington
Faye G. Allen Center for the Arts
15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St.
Seattle, WA 98195

This is the second iteration of Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, an ongoing series of exhibitions organized by Chris E. Vargas, executive director of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art. 99 Objects gathers archival materials and works by contemporary artists that narrate the history of transgender communities. The presentation at the Henry focuses on lives and experiences specific to Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest

August 13, 2016- June 4, 2017


The Guardian

The Transgender Body in Art: finding visibility 'in difficult times like these'
By Sabine Heinlein
November 18, 2016


Strange Fire Collective

Interview with Jess T. Dugan about the the Butch Heroes project: the beginning, the process and what's next.

July 21, 2016


Ria Brodell: The Handsome &
The Holy

Mayor’s Gallery, 5th Floor Boston City Hall
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

The Mayor's Gallery exhibits work by Boston artists who have received recognition for their artwork through grants, awards and other types of public display.

May 16- June 30, 2016


San Francisco Examiner

The Butch Heroes painting of Jean Bonnet featured in an article about Bonnet's life by Paul Drexler.

April 24, 2016


2014 Boston Artadia Awardees

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773

DeCordova is pleased to host an exhibition of work by the 2014 Boston Artadia Awardees:  Larissa Bates, Ria Brodell, and Lucy Kim.

June 11- June 22, 2015


Art News

Artadia Names 2014 Boston Artis Grantees
November 25, 2014