THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF THE VISUAL ARTS

 

About Face: Stonewall, Revolt, and New Queer Art

 

Introduction

 

The sprawling show now on view at Wrightwood 659, "About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art," and extended through August 3rd, is so large that the term “exposition” is more accurate than "exhibition." Given its expansiveness, the Examiner thought having two reviewers write about this nearly 500-work expo would give readers a fuller picture.

This dual approach is not a first for us. We imagined two submissions might diverge in a number of respects. Surprisingly, both writers agreed more often than not. Each offers pointed remarks questioning what curator Jonathan David Katz’s intent was in mounting the show, the language employed for the diverse works’ presentation and the concept of “collective queerness” for encompassing this state-of-the-field survey.

The show uses the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion to reframe the traditional view of the historic uprising away from being the origin of the gay and lesbian liberation movement and on the key role played by trans persons.

In its use of the term, “About Face”, the show signifies a reversal and a transcendence beyond the standard, prevailing binary views of gay and straight around sexuality and gender identity. Throughout the exhibition, according to the show’s release, those two core issues “bleed and overlap to the point that ‘queerness’ becomes a verb, not a noun.”

Read both impressions that follow, then go and form your own opinion about the issues "About Face" explores in all its messy diversity.

 

Tom Mullaney

 

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