Savannah Knoop

MFA 2016

Savannah Knoop is a New York-based artist who insights strategies of permission through writing, performance, and object-making. In 2001, Savannah Knoop founded the clothing line Tinc, which ran until 2009, with creative partner Parachati Pattajotti. From 2009-2016 Knoop co-hosted the monthly queer audio-visual party WOAHMONE. They received their BA at at CunyBa under the mentorship of Vito Acconci, and their MFA at Virginia Common Wealth University in Sculpture+ Extended Media. They have shown and performed at the Whitney,MoMA, the ICA Philly, Movement Research, Essex Flowers Gallery, and ACP in Los Angeles. In 2007, they published the memoir titled “Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy” (Amy Scholder, Seven Stories Press) cataloguing their experiences of playing their sister in law’s writing persona and avatar JT Leroy. With director Justin Kelly, they adapted it into a feature length film starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern. Savannah has studied dance and martial arts for over twenty years. They are currently a purple belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Marcelo Garcia.

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What have you been up to since graduating from VCU?

I just finished a ten year long project of adapting my memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I Became J.T. Leroy into a feature length film title J.T. Leroy, co-written by the director Justin Kelly, starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern, Kelvin Harris Jr., Jim Sturgess, and Diane Kruger. I also finalized a project that I started working on immediately out of school based on the sociality of the regulars at the East Tenth Street Russian and Turkish Baths, titled SCREENS: A Project About Community. It was curated by VCU alum and fellow wrestler, Owen Duffy, and it showed at Essex Flowers Gallery in New York.

How did VCU prepare you for your current situation?

Going to VCU helped me to fortify my voice, and connect how all of the seemingly disparate parts of my practice (from making clothes, to throwing parties, creating movement scores, writing and translating experiences into multiple forms) were actually deeply connected. I felt like a different person walking out of the program.


Why did you decide to study sculpture?

To me Sculpture is a catch-all term— it is a 4D experience in a 4D world—it can always provide an entry point for a body to fall into a complicated experience or story. I’m excited by that as an artist.

What advice would you give a current VCU Sculpture student?

Be open to listening to the feedback of others while also keeping your own passion and joy as your compass. To quote Simon Forti, “Try to have fun!”


How do you define success?

The time, and support to fill your brain with your own thoughts, desires, and proclivities so that you can share your work and ideas with others with honesty and clarity.