10 – Gertrude and Alice’s Tender Buttons – Sailor Holladay, Heather Hall, Kate Robinson


Sailor Holladay, Heather Hall, and Kate Robinson
Gertrude and Alice’s Tender Buttons
mixed media

There are many people we admire in history who we wish were queer. We fold them into our queer family tree because of their bravery, their lawlessness, their embodied liberty. With Gertrude Stein, we’ve never had to do that. She’s ours.

Existing outside of the boundaries of gender, sexuality, nationhood, and most of all, syntax, Gertrude’s work, supported, influenced, and inspired by her love, Alice B. Toklas, is a lighthouse for those of us stranded in the seas of normativity.

Gertrude and Alice’s Tender Buttons reimagines the two lovers’ home life, with a life size representation of Gertrude’s poem about cunnilingus, Lifting Belly in the center. The walls are adorned with Tender Buttons objects, each assigned a number. Thirty artists on the queer female spectrum have each read and recorded a Tender Buttons object, which can be listened to by accessing the accompanying cell phone tour.

There is also a booklet that accompanies the tour with the Lifting Belly and Tender Buttons text as well as portraits, bios, and thoughts from the artists involved. We hope to carry a conversation about desire and liberation across time, transcending era and identity.

Need a little tenderness?
Tender Buttons Hotline 512-717-4867
Press the number of the object you would like to hear!

Gertrude Stein: (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946)
Alice B. Toklas: (April 30, 1877 – March 7, 1967)





Heather Hall is a waitress, writer, and sound artist from Dallas, TX but currently resides in Olympia, WA.

Sailor Holladay is proud to have come out as gay at age twelve in 1992 and proud to have Texan heritage on both sides, including an ancestor, Leonard Stroud, who was a trick riding champion of the world in the 1910’s and 20’s.

Kate Robinson is an intermedia book artist, poet, and performer living in Oakland, CA where she makes books and ephemera as Manifest Press and feminist performances as one half of The Third Thing.