Queer State(s)

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Visual Arts Center in the Dept. of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX
2011

Queer State(s) examined how artists participate in the performance of queer bodies. The term ‘queer’ was not meant to be literal, as in any gay artist in Texas, but rather, it was meant to refer to gay, and even straight, artists that in some way engage queer sexuality in their work. Queer here was meant to refer to a kind of sexuality or gender identity that resists easy classification and exists in a more ambiguous way. We are familiar with this notion in the case of drag kings and queens, but how is queerness evident in other forms? Can it be found in a traditional genre like life drawing or a mainstream form such as fashion photography? Can sexuality be queer when gender roles are reversed but remain straight? Are there ways that gender stereotypes can be pushed so far that they become queer?

Queer State(s) artists included Ben Aqua, Libby Black, Robert Boland, CHRISTEENE, Thomas Feulmer, Heyd Fontenot, K8 Hardy, Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas, Ivan Lozano, Senalka McDonald, Wura Natasha Ogunji, Richard Patterson, PJ Raval, Adam Shecter, SKOTE (Jill Pangallo and Alex White), Michael Smith, and Jason Villegas. The artists have various relationships to Texas. Some were born here and live elsewhere. Some are from elsewhere and are recent transplants, and some passed through for various reasons.

Queer State(s) was presented in partnership with The Gender and Sexuality Center and The Queer Students Alliance, UT Austin.Generous support for Queer State(s) came from the Ford Foundation. Curated by Noah Simblist and David Wilburn.

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Public Programs for Queer State(s):

Performance by CHRISTEENE
Friday, September 9 @ 10 pm
Cheer Up Charlie’s (1104 E. 6th Street)

CHRISTEENE was an Austin-based performance artist who has been characterized as “a sexually infused sewer of live rap and vile shamelessness.” CHRISTEENE’s age, race, and gender are intentionally obscured leaving an air of mystery surrounding the artist whose performances often include backup boyz T-Gravel and C-Baby and accompanying DJ/music producer JJ Booya. A DJ set by Dylan Reece followed the performance.

Queer State(s): A Symposium
Saturday, October 22 from 10 am – 5 pm
ART 1.102

This symposium brought together scholars and critics to discuss a variety of themes connected to the exhibition Queer State(s). Participants from the UT community include Lisa Moore, Associate Professor of English; Ixchel Rosal, Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center; Risa Puleo, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art; and Andy Campbell and Chelsea Weathers, both PhD candidates in Art History. In addition, other participants will include Nathan Lee, an independent curator and critic from New York, Leah Devun, a Faculty Fellow at Stanford University and an Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, and Jonathan D. Katz, Director of the Doctoral Program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and co-founder of the activist group Queer Nation, San Francisco and the Queer Caucus of the College Art Association.

Co-Presented by The Gender and Sexuality Center and The Queer Students Alliance, UT Austin


Selected Films by Jack Smith, with introduction by Dr. Ann Reynolds, Associate Professor in Art History, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies
Thursday, October 27 from 6:30 – 8 pm
ART 1.102

Jack Smith was one of the most accomplished and influential underground artists during the 1960s to 1980s, when he was a key figure in the cultural history of Downtown film, performance, and art. From the late 1950s until his death from AIDS in 1989, Smith was chiefly recognized for his work in film and performance. Innovative and idiosyncratic, Smith explored and developed a deceptively frivolous camp aesthetic, importing allusions to B-Grade Hollywood films and elements of social and political critique into the arena of high art. Less celebrated than the many people he inspired, Smith's multi-media influence is evident in the works of a broad segment of the American Avant Garde, including filmmakers Andy Warhol, Ken Jacobs, John Waters, George Kuchar, Scott, and Beth B. In the realm of avant-garde theater and performance art, Smith influenced Robert Wilson, Charles Ludlam, John Vaccaro, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Foreman.

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