Friday, April 12, 2013
CALL FOR ART (APRIL 28): "After" Against Nature
For an Exhibition in 2014:
Call for Art for Major Exhibition (Emerging and Established Artists:
Deadline for Art Images + CV --> June 1, 2014
LOOKING FOR EMERGING, OUTSIDE THE SYSTEM, AND ESTABLISHED ARTISTS FOR A SHOW (LOOKING BACK, FROM THE PRESET) ON AIDS/HIV, SEX/GENDER, SEXUALITY, QUEER POLITICS & AIDS ACTIVISM (AESTHETICALLY), LGBT IDENTITY POLITICS, QUEER COMMUNITIES, AND QUEER KINSHIP(S).
THIS IS FOR A MAJOR EXHIBITION IN 2014. THE EXHIBITION IS A RE-EXAMINATION OF AGAINST NATURE: AN EXHIBITION BY GAY MEN (curated by Dennis Cooper and Richard Hawkins at LACE in 1989): http://welcometolace.org/shop/publications/against-nature-a-show-by-homosexual-men/ THE EXHIBITION IN 2014 WILL BE CALLED "AFTER" AGAINST NATURE: 25 YEARS LATER.
PLEASE EMAIL ONE to TWO IMAGES + CV TO ROBERT SUMMERS, PhD @ email@example.com BY JUNE 1, 2014
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, THEN PLEASE EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposal for Exhibition:
"After" Against Nature: 25 Years Later (revisiting L.A.C.E.'s Against Nature), 2014, Curator: Robert Summers, e: email@example.com -- for info and submissions
The proposed exhibition "After" Against Nature will be a critical re-staging and a re-thinking of an earlier exhibition held at L.A.C.E. in 1989. It was titled Against Nature: A Show by Homosexual Men, which takes part of its title from Joris-Karl Huysmans seminal novel, and which was curated by Dennis Cooper and Richard Hawkins; it was held from January to February of 1989. Both curators are supportive of this re-exhibition, and a number of the exhibition's original artists are willing to re-show their work (not included as artists requested). In addition to “After” Against Nature, a one-day conference will consist of various discussions of "gay” and “queer” art, “gay” and “queer” aesthetics, and AIDS and activism in the art world—then and now. There will also be an artists’ talk, and a catalogue similar to the original one.
Overall, Cooper and Hawkins’ Against Nature was a response to several interlocking political events that took place in the 80’s: the Reagan and Bush presidencies, the rise to power of the "Religious Right," legal discrimination against homosexuals (e.g., Bowers vs. Hardwick), the backlash against art (the “culture wars”), and, of course, the AIDS/HIV epidemic—with the murderous government non-response. The specific aim of Against Nature exhibition was to look, specifically, at artworks by "gay male artists" and how they reckoned with sexual identity and desire that was intertwined with AIDS/HIV, and, in general, how gay men were re-presenting themselves, their community, and their desires. The implied audience was gay men, gay artists, and their allies.
With these histories, theories, and political systems and trajectories in mind, as well as examining the concerns of younger gay artists—and also, importantly, all non-gender conforming and sexually other artists—over the past 25 years, the proposed exhibition "After" Against Nature asks: How would the artwork of the past be (re-)read in and for the "present"—and alongside current artwork that reckons with sexuality, gender and AIDS/HIV politics and activism? Has queer and trans theory changed the way art participated in identity politics? Does the most significant aspect of “gay art” still revolve around, as the original curators argued, "sexual desire [that] informs, distances, and empowers the recent history of art made by guys like us?" Do we still believe that art made by "guys like us" contains the intentions, identities, and desires the artists? Do we now read this as, important then, but exclusionary now? In other words, are the identity politics that framed Against Nature "mean" anything of significance today? What has changed, and what has remained? Finally, is a "gay aesthetic" and “gay art” now understood as theoretically naive?
I believe that by re-staging Against Nature as "After" Against Nature, we can re-open the artworks interpretations and assumptions in the original exhibition to what may have been unknown and unseen. Overall, I hope that by repeating, with a difference, Against Nature this new exhibition will surface historical blind-spots—not by scolding or fixing, but rather by adding to the necessary discourses and arts that aided in the emergence of queer theories, queer feminism, and what we may mean now by “gay” art, as well as “queer” art and public practices. Furthermore, the re-staging of the original exhibition will not be a repeating the "true" meaning of the original curators' “intentions” and the various artists' artworks, but rather art's untimely power: its power to disrupt the past and present. This will be an exhibition without conclusion or prescription: it will be a “producer exhibition”: allowing an every expanding discourse and production of arts. Finally, this re-staging will not be "against nature", which already participates in a certain closed binary system: the unnatural against the natural and the cultural against the natural; rather, "After" Against Nature will be, indeed, “after” (“post”) the historical phase of belief in the natural of any kind for the art(ifice) and fabricated, and “after” that is "for" becoming-queer, becoming-historical, becoming-art, and the queer deconstructive practice of welcoming the future—hence, other exhibitions that will add to this one.
As a postscript, I believe this exhibition to be extremely valuable, given the silence around issues concerning AIDS/HIV, sex/gender, and non-normative sexualities (especially practiced by people of color). With an explosion of HIV infection by the 20-something group, and the historical marginalization of discourses around (sexually) political art work in the art world (and its institutions at large) make this exhibition both necessary and timely. With the production of a panel and an artists’ talk will aid in other knowledge productions, and with the production of an affordable catalog, which copies will be donated to various gay/lesbian archives, and AIDS/HIV cultural institutions, such as Visual AIDS and The Body, various knowledges will be circuated, and finally, with the artwork as public practice by an artist such as Camilo Godoy, will give info on AIDS/HIV in “high-risk” spaces—such as gay bath house and clubs.