Category Archives: Review / Text

Photobook Conference. Call for Papers. Deadline: Nov 15, 2018

CFP: The Photobook (Oxford, 14-16 Mar 19)

Maison Française d’Oxford, March 14 – 16, 2019
Deadline: Nov 15, 2018

Maison Française d’Oxford 2019 Photobook Conference :

The British, American and French Photobook:
Commitment, Memory, Materiality and the Art Market (1900-2019)

A conference to be held at the Maison Française, Oxford
Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March 2019

The Maison Française conference committee invites proposals on the social history of the British, American or French photobook from 1900 to the present. Papers will address: commitment or explicit political engagement; memory, commemoration and the writing of history; materiality (whether real or virtual), and how material form affects circulation, handling, critical responses and the social life of the photobook. We invite contributors to analyse these topics with respect to the growth of the market for the photobook as a commodity and an object of bibliophilic attention. Proposals focusing on contemporary productions are particularly welcome.

Recent illustrated anthologies in the vein of The Photobook: A History (Gerry Badger and Martin Parr, 2004, 2006, 2014) have established three things: firstly, the photobook-photographer is an editor and an author, or auteur (in the cinematographic sense, but applied to “directing” the production of a book); secondly, the photobook is an autonomous work of art, and a collectible object of connoisseurship; thirdly, the photobook “art world” now exists and can be studied.

This conference will concern itself with the social history of the photobook, whether photographer-driven, writer-driven, editor-driven, or publisher-driven. For the purposes of this conference, the definition of the photobook will be extended to include all photographically illustrated books, regardless of subject matter or the proportion of text to image, or indeed whether or not the images are “illustrative” in the strict sense of the word.

Three major questions arise concerning the photobook as a medium:
• Firstly, what place is there for literary fiction or imaginative picture-making in photobooks committed to documentary truth-telling or historical accuracy? In a word, how do fact and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity, cohere?
• Secondly, to what extent does the self-fashioning of the photographer in the art market interfere with the narrative meaning of a photobook? What is the influence of the art market on the photobook or on the writing of photobook histories? And how has the art market for photobooks changed since the bibliophilic creations of the early twentieth century?
• Thirdly, unlike individual prints that become unmoored without their captions, and which can be appropriated and re-used against themselves, can a photo-text shore itself up against appropriation? Is it a privileged pedagogical medium? A self-sufficient medium? This leads to a related question: how have certain photobooks changed with time? How have famous or reprinted photobooks been differently interpreted by different audiences? What has been the afterlife of politically committed photobooks? How, and in what circumstances, have certain photobooks contributed to writing or re-writing local memory or “collective memory”, at the time of their publication and over time?

To answer these questions, specialists in the history of photography, book studies and visual studies are invited to dialogue with researchers in such disciplines as sociology, anthropology, critical race theory, queer theory, gender studies, post-colonial studies and comparative literature. Papers may be disciplinary or multidisciplinary.

Papers shall be given in English.
Proposals are due by 15 November 2018.
Send 300-word abstracts (as an email attachment in Microsoft Word format, RTF, or PDF) along with a one-page CV to
paul.edwards@cnrs.fr

Roundtable sessions of 60 to 90 minutes may be proposed. They should be pre-organised, and include 3 to 5 panellists. To propose a roundtable, the discussion moderator will send a single 300-word abstract describing the chosen topic, as well as supplying the full details of each panellist, namely their contact information (email and phone number), affiliation and a one-page CV for each. Please be sure to confirm the participation of all panellists before submitting an abstract.
Roundtable proposals are due by 15 November 2018.

Confirmation of acceptance will be sent by 15 January 2019.
One-page/500-word abstracts must be sent by 15 February 2019.

Conference venue :
Maison Française d’Oxford
2-10 Norham Road
Oxford OX2 6SE
Oxfordshire
England

Coordinator:
Paul Edwards (MFO, CNRS/LARCA, Université Paris Diderot)

Conference website :
http://www.mfo.cnrs.fr/research/axes-de-recherches/litterature/call-for-papers-the-british-american-and-french-photobook/

Bibliography (selection)
AUER M. et M. (2007), Photo Books from the M+M Auer Collection, Hermance, Editions M+M.
BOOM Mattie and SUERMONDT Rik (1989), Photography between Covers: The Dutch Documentary Photobook after 1945, Amsterdam, Fragment Uitgeverij.
BOUQUERET Christian (2012), Paris. Les livres de photographies des années 1920 aux années 1950, Paris, Gründ.
DI BELLO Patrizia, WILSON Colette and ZAMIR Shamoon (eds) (2012), The Photobook: from Talbot to Ruscha and beyond, New York, I.B. Tauris.
EDWARDS Elizabeth and HART Janice (eds) (2004), Photographs Objects Histories: on the Materiality of Images, London, Routledge.
EDWARDS Paul (2016), Perle noire. Le photobook littéraire, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
FERNÁNDEZ Horacio (2011), The Latin American Photobook, New York, Aperture.
FERNÁNDEZ Horacio (2014), Photobooks Spain 1905-1977, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía/RM/Acción Cultural Española.
FERNÁNDEZ Horacio (2017), New York in Photobooks, Barcelona, Editorial RM/Centro José Guerrero.
GIERSTBERG Frits and SUERMONDT Rik (2012), The Dutch Photobook, New York, Aperture.
KANEKO Ryuichi and VARTANIAN Ivan (2009), Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and 70s, New York, Aperture.
KARASIK Mikhail and Heiting Manfred (2015), The Soviet Photobook 1920-1941, Göttingen, Steidl.
MEIZEL Laureline (2018), “Inventer le livre illustré par la photographie en France 1876-1897”, DPhil, Paris I University.
NEUMÜLLER Moritz and MARTIN Lesley A. (eds) (2017), Photobook Phenomenon, Barcelona, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona/Fundació Foto Colectania/RM Editores.
PARR Martin and BADGER Gerry (2004, 2006, 2014), The Photobook: A History, 3 vols., London, Phaidon.
PARR Martin and WASSINKLUNDGREN (2016) : The Chinese Photobook: from the 1900s to the Present, New York, Aperture.
PFRUNDER Peter (2011), Swiss Photobooks from 1927 to the Present, Zurich, Lars Muller Publishers.
RITCHIN Fred and NAGGAR Carole (2016), Magnum Photobook, London, Phaidon.
ROTH Andrew (2001), The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century, New York, PPP Editions/Roth Horowitz.
ROTH Andrew (ed.) (2004), The Open Book: A history of the photographic book from 1878 to the present, Gothenburg, Hasselblad Center.

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AC/E Digital Culture Annual Report for Download

Interested in digital trends in the arts? 3D-Printing? Neuroscience
applied to technology? Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and
Big Data applied to culture, and the use of digital technology in music. Then download Acción Cultural Española’s fourth edition of the AC/E Digital Culture Annual Report.  It follows an editorial policy of familiarising professionals of the culture sector with the main digital trends they need to be aware of over the coming years.

AnnualRep2017_english

Why The Tate Gallery is right to put on a queer art exhibition: Issues in justifying queer art, by Jonathon Austin

This is a repost of Jonathon Austin’s thesis, for the Master in Art Studies: Museum and Curatorial Studies, at the University of Porto, Faculty of Fine Arts. Thank you for sharing your point of view with us, Jonathon.

 

Why The Tate Gallery is right to put on a queer art exhibition.

Issues in justifying queer art
by Jonathon Austin

Abstract

Queer curating can be thought of as an attempt to dismantle heterosexist and normative concepts of society in contemporaneity embodied by the art museum. This means taking into consideration Art History’s discourse but also how history is being defined by values of present times. Sexual and gender dissidence is not usually taken into account in Art History as art and culture institutions remain rather conservative on the topic. One could even go to the length of saying one could attend a museum exhibition about Andy Warhol without learning about his sexuality. One could also claim that it is one irrelevant piece of information. Is identity irrelevant to the production of art? Are not sexual and gender identity part of one’s self construct? What or who determines its relevance to the production of art to the point of eliminating it from the historical discourse? Given the apparent irrelevance why does this seem to call forth a clash between outrage for censorship measures and free expression in a discussion still kept alive to this day? Queer art attempts to make the point that an alternative history can be told because Art History is generally uninterested in its issues. This is not to say that queer is the only account to be told in history’s discourse but it’s an account that has not been told for institutions keep choosing to maintain it that way. This paper finds its justification on the premise that a queer perspective is inviting to think of the multiple worlds in which art is produced and enjoyed and the difference of artistic expression in private and public forms. This paper is titled with the exact opposite premise of a famous newspaper article intended to perpass a queer art exhibition by The Tate Gallery as wrong and unnecessary. The arguments used here are made in an attempt to contradict the aforementioned article’s arguments while several past queer art exhibitions are brought up as support evidence to justify them.

 

Keywords: queer curatorship; Queer Theory; art; LGBTQI+

 

 

Following the celebration of half a century upon the decriminalization of male homosexuality in England, The Tate Gallery has announced its first LGBTQ-related British art exhibition with artworks ranging from 1867 to 1967. The Tate has given good grounds for the public to expect an exhibition where it will be possible to explore art from a century marked by the evolution of the concepts of gender and sexuality. From political to erotic themes, the artworks to be shown are to reveal a variety of personal stories from individuals whose identity and sense of belonging to a community were still in development as the LGBTQI+ acronym wasn’t yet recognized[1].

Views on why such an exhibition is wrong and unneeded have been expressed, this being a contested position in attempts to underline the necessity of the first exhibition of this kind to be organized by The Tate. The claim that our society has been losing the capacity to react to art freely because of its fixation on sexuality[2] calls indeed for the recognition that the concepts to be dealt with by this exhibition reflect the dominance in our society of the concepts of gender and sexual identity – as these are dominant traits in our thinking. In spite of this, these definitions are a cause for celebration since the decriminalization of male homosexuality (as lesbianism had never really been criminalized by the law) marks an important turning point in the history of LGBTQI+ people.

The Tate exhibition proposes a queer lens through which great art can be experienced by the public. This is a valid analysis perspective of art by artists who might have identified themselves with the recently reclaimed meaning of queer to different degrees. This means a queer lens can uncover lost or hidden meanings and stories in art from a time when queer feelings, desires and thoughts were repressed or hidden for the simple sake of survival. A queer aesthetic might even be exposed since the imagery and self-expression of queer identities were kept out of sight or concealed from normative society, thus allowing the possibility of a new and informed gaze upon issues around gender and identity politics of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is only one way through which art can be examined as different stories can be told according to the lens used to find meaning.

The relevance of grouping artists such as David Hockney, Duncan Grant, Francis Bacon and Keith Vaughan based on their sexual preferences was also questioned. Queer is not equivalent to homosexual as it refers to a much extensive spectrum of identity possibilities through variation of the normative concepts of gender and sexuality. Thus, queer art exhibitions or art queering exhibitions promote a critical standpoint to the institutionalized art exhibition as a symbol of hierarchical power and the ways by which cultural institutions act as education mediators and influence thinking and taste in the making of history’s discourse. This can better be understood if linked to the theories and practices defended by New Institutionalism and Institutional Critique. These theories promote a series of questioning tools to a better understanding of ways art institutions can become more inclusive of the society they fit in and represent – this marks a move from the classical museum towards the new politically and socially engaged art institution which is critical of its own functions and mechanisms of action. These also attempt to analyze the way naturally taken historic discourses are in fact socially and politically constructed to maintain a status quo.

The exhibition “neoqueer” at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art (2004) makes an effort to contest the idea that queer art is always regarded in association with sexuality. As stated by the curators, instead of specifically looking for homoerotism and queer content, the show focused on modern art, with quality and originality as key concepts – and not sexual orientation[3]. Although without a defining theme, or at least with an ambiguous one, the show asks the question of what it means to be LGBTQI+ and what role does sexuality play in an artist’s work – a necessary dialogue between queer artists and the public in order to dismantle preconceived ideas about queer art. The show does not portray the usual stories drawn up by queer shows that focus on the political statements of the previous century marked by the sexual revolution, nor does it solely present homoerotic drawings as art. Indeed, the collection of works selected by the curators range from the poetic to the provocative and the explicit. It tries to push queer beyond those boundaries, indicating an ever increasing trend towards “subtlety and individualism”[4].

Looking beyond the issue of whether Tate’s queer art exhibition should have gender and sexuality transgression as a worthy cause for celebration or should solely serve the purpose of reminding us of our obsession with these definitions[5], perhaps it would be more constructive when seen as a particular position or place that allows critical thinking about the paradigm of these issues given the symbolic date. By simply giving viewers a critical lens on why and under what circumstances gender and sexuality have become dominant in our thinking, this exhibition has a plausible reason to exist. Furthermore, it can help the public question the relationship between normative society and transgressive queer identity.

While trying to prove the point that this exhibition is wrong and unnecessary there’s a failure in questioning the definition of queer and the representation of queer in all its extension of identity possibilities. This is a common issue of art exhibitions titled and advertised as queer nowadays resulting in attempts to essentialize queer identity and stripping it down to the white homosexual figure. Queer art exhibitions are a way of depicting queer issues and experiences in an effort that stretches way beyond the necessity of making the institutional art world a more inclusive space. Museum studies and curatorship practice must be informed about Queer Theory in order to not pass on discourses perpetuating the construction of concepts such as gender and sexual identity based on normativity[6]. This is where an intersectional perspective must be adopted in order to fully explore the potential of queer identity without neglecting other categories and dimensions of experience and sensibility.

Categorizing a queer show as gay is biased and reductive. This is not a promotion of the condition of being gay or queer but instead a question of visibility. Being visible means being acknowledged as part of society and thus, requires being given the opportunity to be seen, heard and represented. Being visible means existing. Essentializing queer down to the homosexual figure means omitting a wide range of fleeting self-identification possibilities between the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Attempting to pass through this kind of exhibition as unneeded by arguing that everybody knows there are artists who are queer only adds to the institutional conservatism in the art world that accounts as part of the reason why queer identities still lack representation. A queer exhibition makes a contribution so that queer identities and content aren’t still only tolerated by normative society. Whenever consuming any form of culture people tend to look for signs of themselves and of a community in which they fit. Queer individuals, perhaps to a greater extent than average exhibition visitors who do not identify as queer, seek these spaces that celebrate their community, culture and history.

Exploring and digging up queer content in works of art is different from searching for a queer sensibility hidden behind imagery but a combined approach of the two would be rather interesting in making perceptible to the viewer the intricate complexity of queer identity through its aesthetics, sensibilities and content, and also its difficult relationship with the normative workings of society[7]. The viewer would be prompted to ask himself if some stories are queer in essence despite whether they portray or not queer content, and if some stories are not queer in essence (i.e. heteronormative) despite of whether or not queer content is portrayed. What then is queer content and queer sensibility?

There seems to exist understandable confusion as to what queer stands for in our days, with much prejudice arising from the distortion of its ambiguous meaning. It does not refer to an identity’s specific essence and thus, does not refer specifically and intrinsically to LGBT individuals. Queer can instead be thought of as the corporealization of an experience or sensibility which uses a discourse that intimately connects the personal/intimate and the social/public realms in an attitude of resistance and self-affirmation. Artistic production in this context aims the questioning and challenging of dominant ways of production and representation in art and it can ally itself with the subversion of traditional form, genre, structure and aesthetic in art. This approach consequently results in a form of provoking and experimenting which celebrates at the same time its transgressive characteristics – what keeps it from being absorbed into normative behavior and thinking.

In reply to the question of the validity in jumping to conclusions by labelling something or someone as queer, a queer perspective can be applied even to art produced by artists who do not specifically identify as queer. To queer or queering refers to this method which the institutional art world can apply to be more socially inclusive at least to the length of bringing visibility issues under the spotlight. Assuming this method is only concerned with exploring homosexual individuals and content in art is wrong as it concerns everything and everyone that characterizes as transgressive, as in not corresponding to societal norms in terms of sexual and gender identity and power structures based on that. Queering works of art not only contributes to making visible these individuals but can also provide viewers some initial support for understanding and accepting it. Furthermore, it can uncover hidden information that can be useful for another understanding of these works and artists. This does not mean ignoring already known traits of works as this method can additionally incorporate them into constructions of different interpretative meanings. A queer perspective on art does not neglect a work’s theme and try to replace it with the word queer – usually in association with sexuality. Moreover, it does not obliterate or deny previous values of an artwork but it can add more information to them. This is not to say that a queer lens is the only valid perspective an artist’s work is to be analyzed, interpreted or enjoyed.

A queer perspective can be sustained by drawing up Umberto Eco’s discussion about the open work of art. The notions of completeness and openness refer to the viewer’s reception of a work as an authorial construction of communicative engagement with the viewer[8]. Each individual can participate in dialogue with the piece through stimulus, being that this is dependent on their receptiveness, sensibility and capacity to respond. In this response, the viewer presents an overview of his own being, an amalgamation of beliefs, tastes, and prejudices. The original work’s meaning conceived by the artist is thus later adapted by the receptacle that is each individual with different perspectives formed by personal and cultural backgrounds.

Without invalidating any sense of original significance, these different approaches of viewing and understanding a work’s meaning make a work of art on the one hand open to numerous external susceptibilities of interpretation, and on the other a complete and unique product by the specificity imprinted on it by its maker. Assessing a work of art requires, not necessarily to the same degree, interpretation and performance, resulting in an intricate meeting between the viewer’s personal experience and the artist’s imprinted signifying connotations.

In this sense, a queer analysis of art proposes only one possible different approach which requires a new set of questions in finding meaning behind works. Queering, in a museum context, foresees the questioning of how museums collect. In curatorial practice, it questions the selection of the pieces altogether. In both cases, it makes the viewer wonder which narratives are depicted and which ones are omitted to construct a discourse or stimulate discussion[9].

Subjective perceptions of artworks by the viewer can be seen in parallel to the camp aesthetic. Although it is difficult to pin it down to a specific aesthetic, camp refers to a queer sensibility and sense of humor with its use of the theatrical and kitsch. Its discourse hasn’t always been so out and well integrated into popular culture as it is now with its beginnings reporting to a subversion of the mainstream and queer subjects being both the producers and consumers of this coded language. Camp was about elevating the low culture of the repressed, giving queer individuals opportunity to challenge representations in normative discourses. As dominant culture absorbed the camp aesthetic, a queer sensibility found its way to the core of mass popular entertainment. Although the glitter and diva-icons, as Gordon Hall points out, are essentializing images and direct references to queer, the camp sensibility hasn’t only been present in artistic expressions made by and for queers but extends itself to imagery with not necessarily queer innuendo.

Popular music by David Bowie and Cher – representing androgynous glam-rock and sense of style in the pop/dance music scene -, drag performance with satire and parody and the vogue dance style all make up references to burlesque entertainment and the MGM musical and film scene of the 40’s. Camp embodies this set sumptuosity, elaborate costumes, dazzling dance moves and stars such as Judy Garland – a timeless icon in queer culture. The spectacle element aiming the viewer’s fascination is adopted by camp to engage in dialogue with dominant culture, presenting resistance to normative values and representational systems mainly concerned with sexuality and gender[10]. Androgyny, drag performance and vogueing are praised for the ability to dismantle the gender normative concept while presenting exaggerated forms of both edges of the binary. Theatricality, entertainment and humor are weapons used to show reversed social norms about gender and sexual identity. Drag and camp illustrate and support Judith Butler’s definition of gender as a performance as opposed to a false idea of gender identity based on essence.

Camp is also an open work as its nature is dual, lending its features to products that are not conceived as such by their creators. This sensibility can be either imprinted onto objects when they are consumed by the public – such as Judy Garland’s Dorothee in The Wizard of Oz – or be deliberately created by artists – this being the case of Andy Warhol or drag performers. Camp is thus found in the experience of the viewer and in the object’s traits.

Warhol’s persona adopted the camp extravagant sensibility although contemporary discourses on the artist have often been evasive on the subject of his sexuality, omitting the influence it had in his work and in the queer climate of the 60’s [11]. Surely, a queer reading of Warhol doesn’t seem to be unconvincing if one takes the cover of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers depicting a crotch in skinny jeans, or the images of drag queens in Ladies and Gentlemen, or even the polaroids in Torsos and Sex Parts of men recruited in gay saunas having sex. Institutional and critical conservatism is rather obvious when works depicting queer content this explicit are not commonly shown and stay hidden in museum archives such as Warhol’s many experimental films – the most explicit being Blow Job showing an act of oral sex between two men and My Hustler with a plot of an intergenerational lust triangle involving three men[12].

Queer speaks of an unstable and precarious position towards dismantling normative constructions of the self[13]. This position is fundamentally a sensibility – not an essence of gender or sexual identity or any kind of essentialism[14] – engaged with the ways of being oneself. The aesthetic of the queer work of art is related to art production in the context of the civil liberation movements of the 70’s, and more prominently to feminist art. This means queer art reclaims experiences that aren’t “historically valued in the white-hetero-masculine system” [15] as a form of attack of political and social structures of gender and sexuality. With its unstable and undefinable nature, queer seeks to destabilize the sense of established natural being, the performance of everyday normative life, queering the status quo instead of reaffirming it[16]. Queer’s refusal to support and perpetuate societal norms and power structures strives for other possibilities to be constructed, which is why queer opens a whole dimension for new perceptions in art[17].

Artworks speak a lot about their makers and what significance they have received by their makers’ specificity. What if they could teach us a lesson about the ways we perceive? Gordon Hall claims they show how to see gender and bodies differently in a non-normative way, which means art could be a valuable resource for thinking about sexuality and gender even if imagery of queer experiences is not depicted[18]. Artworks are usually described as queer when portraying LGBTQI+ individuals, when produced by LGBTQI+ artists or when referencing to their culture by including tangible forms of queer aesthetics. Hall references characteristics that immediately refer the viewer’s mind to queer aesthetics, taking this phenomenon as an essentializing issue: “[…] the glitter problem. Or the leather problem. Or the pink-yarn, 1970s-crafts, iconic-diva, glory-hole, pre-AIDS-sexuality, post-AIDS-sexuality, bodies and body-parts, blood-and-bodily-fluids problem”[19]. This calls forward the question if it’s possible to find queer meaning in non-representation or pure formalism without any kind of overt queer context such as “dicks, vaginas, menstrual blood, references to Jean Genet, cum, anuses, bondage, surgery scars, reclaimed pronouns”[20].

Hall takes the difficult example of minimalist sculpture – as objects with no apparent resonance of gender in their form – in relation to queer content. If it’s possible to point out gender constructs in blank, monochrome and consistent objects it means a queer gaze of physicality and psychological associations can be applied to objects that are not queer in essence even when queer content is not portrayed – as minimalist sculpture appears completely devoid of narrative and symbolism. The only communication being made is through their placement in time and space – it’s the physicality of objects what allows intimate interaction with the viewer’s position and architectural setting.

Without wanting to claim that only queer art exhibitions are targets of controversy and censorship, they are no strangers at all to one another, despite this being an era where supposedly queer people are seen as equal. As expected, anything that disturbs the normative functioning and thinking of society always generates some critical backlash. The negative response, coming either from the public, institutions or patrons, seems stronger when political and religious views are put up against a wall to be challenged and objected.

Warhol’s mural 13 Most Wanted Men (1964) for the World’s Fair depicts prison photos of outlaw men in America. The work caused political controversy and was ultimately erased despite the artist’s already established status. The choice of subject challenged norms of taste in society and in the arts, containing coded language reporting to queer desire, thus being dissed by critics and censored by authorities. The images present the double meaning of most-wanted, as in criminals searched by the police and receptacles of desire. Moreover, this represents a form of outlaw desire if the gaze is male.

Three queer art exhibitions illustrate the sort of censorship that lies deep in the art world nowadays as it did back in 1964. The recent “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” (2010-2011) at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery was targeted by right-wing political and religious figures demanding control over the choice of works to be displayed. It was demanded the removal of Wojnarowicz’s video Fire In My Belly (1987). This piece, an excellent metaphor of the AIDS crisis, showed a crucifix covered in ants. The pressure was felt as the building was threatened to be closed in spite of the exhibition not being funded by public money. The video ended up being removed but the issue gave rise to a necessary discussion about what art was worthy of public funding and what kind of art was really displayed at public art institutions if not one censored within a controlled constructed discourse[21].

The slogan “silence = death”[22] doesn’t seem so far removed from the reality of nowadays as artworks and artists continue to be erased from sight to protect and not offend others[23]. One of the show’s curators, Jonathan Katz, has spoken about the urgency for “queer political advocacy” taking into consideration that this show had been numerous times rejected to be presented at various museums throughout the US[24].

Public funding of art exhibitions has some history of controversy. Regarding the issue of the AIDS crisis, the exhibition curated by Nan Goldin “Witnesses: Against our Vanishing” (1989), in part funded by public money, was caught up in great scandal created by political forces as well as the public. The exhibition catalogue criticized the lack of government and church funding for the AIDS cause, resulting in the cancellation of the grant given the public pressure to cut back on what kind of art should receive federal funds.

In comparison, “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment” (1990)[25] has also seen a huge proportion of backlash against the homoerotic themed photographs it displayed. The CAC’s director was even legally charged for promoting obscenity in some of the show’s explicit photographs displaying S&M gay sex and child nudity[26]. The show, intended to be a retrospective view on the late openly homosexual artist’s work, ultimately came under the spotlight of the public, resulting in political debates about federal art funding. These debates mainly approached the topic of depiction of gay S&M imagery[27].

The exhibitions, even though different in terms of aim for public audience and location, suffered immense backlash from the public against queer content, resulting in chaos for political forces in managing the issue between funding and explicit content. Both exhibitions from last century, distant in two decades from “Hide/Seek”, show public rage toward queer art funding and is still present nowadays although a dramatic shift has been felt in public opinion with greater acceptance becoming the norm[28].

 

References (APA)

 

Bastos-Stanek, M. (2016). The Contested History of Queer Themes in American Art Exhibitions. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from https://umasshistory.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/the-contested-history-of-queer-themes-in-american-art-exhibitions/

 

Earnest, J. (2013). Contemporary Art and Queer Aesthetics. San Francisco Arts Quarterly. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from http://sfaq.us/2013/10/contemporary-art-and-queer-aesthetics/

 

Eco, U. (1989). The Poetics of the Open Work. In The Open Work (pp. 1-23). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Hall, G. (2013). Object Lessons: Thinking Gender Variance through Minimalist Sculpture. Art Journal, 72 (4).

 

Hirsch, F. (2011). Hide/Seek Curator Speaks Up at CAA. Art in America. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/news/caa-jonathan-katz/

 

Jagose, A. (1996). Queer Theory: an introduction. New York: New York University Press.

 

Nguyen, V. T. (2013). Towards a Queer Intersectional Museology (Masters dissertation in Museum Studies). University of Sydney.

 

Prono, L (2007). Encyclopedia of gay and lesbian popular culture. Santa Barbara: Greenwood.

 

Sirkin, H. L. (2016). Why I defended Mapplethorpe’s ‘obscene’ ‘Perfect Moment’. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/06/10/why-i-defended-mapplethorpes-obscene-perfect-moment/

 

Steorn, P. (2010). Queer in the museum: Methodological reflections on doing queer in museum collections. Lambda Nordica, (3-4), 119-122. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from http://www.lambdanordica.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2010-34-Steorn-Museum.pdf.

 

Street-Porter, J. (2016). The Tate Gallery is wrong to put on a ‘queer’ art exhibition. Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/tate-gallery-wrong-put-on-queer-art-exhibition-a6996351.html

 

Tate (2016). Queer British Art 1861–1967 – Exhibition at Tate Britain | Tate. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/queer-british-art-1861-1967

 

Trescott, J. (2010). After Smithsonian exhibit’s removal, banned ant video still creeps into gallery. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/06/AR2010120607328.html

[1] Tate (2016).

[2] Street-Porter, J. (2016).

[3] Potterf, T. (2004).

[4] Potterf, T. (2004).

[5] Street-Porter, J. (2016).

[6] Nguyen, V. T. (2013).

[7] Hall, G. (2013).

[8] Eco, U. (1989).

[9] Steorn, P. (2010).

[10] Prono, L (2007). P. 52

[11] Prono, L (2007). P. 278.

[12] Prono, L. (2007). Pp. 276-277.

[13] Jagose, A. (1996). Pp. 76-77.

[14] Attribution to each gender of a fixed essence taken as natural, which is determined by biological, physical and psychological traits.

[15] Earnest, J. (2013).

[16] Earnest, J. (2013). Reference to Judith Butler’s theory of performance of gender in which gender is seen as a performance and thus, an exteriorization of identity through behavior and physical appearance. This performance of gender can perpetuate societal constraints that support the gender binary system – as in taking on a role from the binary to reproduce and reaffirm it.

[17] Jagose, A. (1996). P. 76-77.

[18] Hall, G. (2013). Pp. 46-57.

[19] Hall, G. (2013). P. 47.

[20] Hall, G. (2013). P. 47.

[21] Trescott, J. (2010).

[22] Reference to ACT UP’s 1987 activist project that draws a parallel between the governmental indifference toward the AIDS crisis and the Nazi period concerning the oppression the homosexual community has suffered.

[23] Bastos-Stanek, M. (2016).

[24] Hirsch, F. (2011).

[25] Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati.

[26] Sirkin, H. L. (2016).

[27] Bastos-Stanek, M. (2016).

[28] Bastos-Stanek, M. (2016)

Repost – The Photographer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags

Check out The Photographer’s Guide to Instagram Hashtags from PhotoShelter and Feature Shoot. An interesting survey with good tips.

I copied some of their conclusions here. You can download the full guide at photoshelter.com

We’ve seen that editors do use
hashtags to find new work, and regularly seek
new emerging talents via popular and niche
Instagram feature pages. Many photographers have been
hired, sent on assignments or sold prints due to Instagram
publicity, and there are many images which have the
potential to get this kind of attention if promoted well.
Across the board it seems that feature page curators, inundated
with new submissions every day, often judge images
based on the thumbnail—so this must be striking. A
combination of both submittable and searchable hashtags
does help you get more exposure, as both have their audiences.
Feature page curators also appreciate hashtags that
provide extra information about an image, for instance
those which communicate the camera used, the format,
the location. Many also explicitly ask for geolocation.
Below are a few further reflections on how to continue to
promote your photography using hashtags on Instagram.
How many hashtags should I use and
where should I put them?

While Instagram sets a 30-hashtag limit, most photographers
don’t adhere to this. Too many hashtags
can overwhelm users and discourage them from
checking out the rest of your profile. For this reason,
photographers who have already established large followers
tend not to use any. But you will want to use
hashtags if you’re still growing an audience and want
to draw interest beyond your existing followers. Some
photographers opt to include hashtags at the end of
the caption, is there is one, and sometimes these can
be divided by a “//“ for clarity. For aesthetic preferences, others put this information below the image as a
first comment. Either way, it will help your photograph
reach new people.

Hashtags to avoid
It is advisable to steer clear of spammy hashtags such as
#follow4follow which might get you followers, though
are likely to deter photo editors, fellow photographers
and photography enthusiasts.
Larger vs smaller submittable feature pages
This is really your call. Feature pages with larger followings
will without a doubt get you more exposure
should your photograph be selected, though these are
also more competitive due to the high number of submissions.
Smaller feature pages with a niche interest are
less competitive and may be worth applying to if they
have a particular aesthetic which you like, or if there
are editors or writers among their followers. To increase
your chances of gaining exposure, it pays to use hashtags
from a variety of feature pages, big or small.

How to find new Instagram hashtags
With time, some submittable hashtags become too
competitive, cease activity or have a change in artistic
direction. Fortunately it is always possible to find new
hashtags. Scouring the profiles of Instagram influencers,
photographers whose profiles are increasingly popular
or seeing who editors are following can help you discover
new feature pages. There are new ones cropping up all
the time. Some searchable hashtags become too overloaded
with spam and so sometimes it is worth playing with words to find new hashtags which still appeal to
people working within the medium and/or genre.
A note on the future of hashtags
That last point brings us onto another question; if
some searchable hashtags are becoming saturated with
spam or unrelated photographs, what is the future of
hashtags? It can be frustrating to search for what you
want via Instagram only to find images that are completely
irrelevant. More and more, editors and writers
are turning to submittable feature pages to get a curated
selection of photographs that have been qualitychecked.
Whether the hashtag method of submission
is sustainable, or more feature pages turn to email submission
is at this point unclear.

Final words
Beyond your use of hashtags, it is important to have
a consistent, quality feed, post regularly, and have an
interesting profile to keep your followers interested.
Architect and architectural photographer Jeroen van
Dam has been featured by big hubs, though has found
that what is most important for him is interacting
with other people on Instagram. “In that way they
are more likely to comment back and start following
you” he emphasizes. People who like your style and
are interested in the stories you have to tell will keep
checking up on you. Instagram is at times a reciprocal
platform—new followers are more likely to find your
page if you regularly engage with others, be it by liking
or commenting on their images.
Once you’re satisfied with the number of followers or
interest you can always opt to drop hashtags to get the
cleaner look that Instagram influencers usually go for.
Instagram is fun, and can also be a powerful tool for
promoting your photography.

8 Ways to get your work out there…

New Zealand artist Harvey Benge had his friend and colleague Antoine D’Agata scribble “8 Ways to get your work out there”, on the back of an envelope. Follow these steps and nothing can go wrong anymore.


1. 90% of life is showing up (Woody Allen)
2. Take the long view – 30 to 50 years
3. Make your work authentic
4. Don’t try and be famous
5. Don’t show dodgy work to everybody who has ever drawn breath
6. People work with people they like
7. Luck has a lot to do with it
8. Get naked, make porn

Article on DIY residencies (Repost from the Guardian)

DIY residencies: a career in the arts on your own terms

From 24-hour plays to co-op leasing, US artists are ditching traditional residencies in favour of working on their own terms
Last week, US rail company Amtrak officially began offering writing residencies on its trains after writers mounted a lively social media campaign sparked by an interview with author Alexander Chee, in which he floated the idea. The announcement attracted headlines around the world and put a mainstream spotlight like never before on the role that residency programs can play in fostering the development of both artists and their art.

At the same time, however, the fact that so many writers were clamouring for Amtrak to launch the programme underscored that formal residencies are often out of reach for many artists. They can be highly competitive and are often too lengthy or too far away to be affordable for the many artists who rely on day jobs to make ends meet.

It is not surprising then that more and more artists are taking matters into their own hands by organising do-it-yourself residencies. These pioneers are establishing new models for residencies by experimenting with alternative approaches to funding, space and time, while still creating an experience that allows them and other artists to break away from the daily grind in order to explore and develop ideas, collaborate and network with other artists, and make art. Some of the innovative ideas and solutions being tested include:

Co-op leasing

To avoid the huge financial outlay of owning a facility to host a residency, the Austin-based Rubber Repertory theatre used a co-op financial model to help cover the cost of the lease on a church space for their own long-term placement. It supplemented its costs by offering affordable short-term residencies ($50 for a week stay) to more than 80 artists from around the world over the course of a year.

Theatre company co-founder Josh Meyer recently told Fast Company that anyone could easily copy their model: “The artists don’t need a lot from us. What we’re really giving them is the time and the space. Anyone with a year to do this could probably start their own artist colony.”

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites such as IndieGoGo, RocketHub, and Kickstarter are powerful new tools that artists can use to both fundraise for a residency program and to engage a broad base of project supporters. In fact, Rubber Repertory raised over $9,000 via crowdfunding campaign to cover a portion of rent and utilities on the church space it used for its residency.

The Indy Convergence, founded by a trio of artist entrepreneurs, including an actor, dancer and designer, has also successfully used crowdfunding to fund its pop-up residency – a two-week summer gathering of professional artists from across the US who collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects.

The 24-hour residency

One way to make costs more manageable is to significantly limit the length of the traditional residency experience. There are many examples of creative professionals from diverse disciplines who have come together to collaborate and create an original artwork within a restricted timeframe, such as 24 Hour Plays, the 48 Hour Film Project and twenty-four magazine.

By limiting their lengths, these projects make it easier for more artists with day jobs to participate and, more importantly, maximise the potency and creative energy of the artists’ time together. The accelerated creative process allows ideas to be explored and processed overnight, cultivates new creative relationships in real-time, and leaves participants with a renewed sense of motivation, self-confidence and purpose.

Earned revenue

Detroit-based choreographer and dancer Kristi Faulkner worked out a deal to use under-utilised space at Michigan State University for her DIY residency. To cover the additional costs of a three-artist residency, she ran classes for the public to generate the needed funds. She invited two other collaborators from different disciplines – artists she wanted residency time to create new work with – which resulted in a larger audience for the classes by attracting people passionate about different artforms.

As a variation on the idea, artists could approach local schools or colleges, which are vacated during the summer, or a holiday resort or campsite, which tend to be under-used in the winter, and offer their artistic expertise as a service.

A month-long residency in a cabin in the woods with complete privacy to focus on creative work will never be accessible or feasible for most artists. Thankfully, more and more artists are reimagining the traditional residency for a new generation of independent artists who are building and sustaining careers in the arts on their own terms.

Lisa Niedermeyer is a programme director at Fractured Atlas – follow the organisation on Twitter @FracturedAtlas

Repost from Guardian Culture Pros Network.

 

Repost: Sochi Project and Crowdfunding – Interview

Photographer Tina Remiz recently interviewed her peers Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen – the duo behind The Sochi Project – for IdeasTap. This is a repost of the article, which gives great insight into their work (just in time for the Olympic Games) and into themes such as Crowdfunding, Collaborative work and documentary photography. Enjoy!

Zarevitch Capitanovsky

 

Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen on the Sochi Project

Since 2007, photographer Rob Hornstra and writer-filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen have colllaborated to document Sochi, Russia, where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held. They talk to Tina Remiz about crowdfunding and working across different platforms…

How did The Sochi Project change over the years you worked on it?

Arnold van Bruggen: We originally intended it as an online project with a large publication at the end. When we launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the work, we promised our donors an annual gift and, because we’re real book lovers, we decided to make a publication at the end of each year.

Rob Hornstra: The first annual publication – Sanatorium – was just a booklet, but in 2010 we produced a really comprehensive document about [the territory of] Abkhazia, which was received and reviewed by many as a book on its own. This made people take The Sochi Project more seriously.

Why did you decided to divide the project into smaller stories?

Rob: Early on in the project we realised that it could be divided into three regions, so each one became a separate chapter of the story. This model fits our way of working. We do slow investigative journalism, spending a long time on each story, which allows us to make separate publications for each chapter.

 

The Sochi Project © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

 

Why did you decide to crowdfund? 

Arnold: We didn’t want to depend on arts grants or compromise the narrative to sell articles editorially, so crowdfunding seemed like a logical choice. We had a story with a clear deadline that involved the Olympic Games, a centuries-old conflict and the incredibly photogenic region of Abkhazia, so we were sure to have thousands of donors in the first year.

Rob: We believed there was a dedicated crowd, that understands this kind of story can’t be funded by the traditional media and is ready to pay for it directly. Probably we were a bit naïve.

Why did you decide to set up your own crowdfunding system instead of using platforms like Kickstarter and what did you learn from the experience?

Arnold: Back in 2009, crowdfunding wasn’t that popular; Kickstarter was just starting out and run by an invitation-only policy. Even now, the most successful crowdfunding campaigns are for short-term projects with clear goals, like “fund my book” or “pay for my trip”. We had a five-year-long project and would have to ask for around €300,000 at once, with no or little material to show.

Rob: One of the inspirations for our crowdfunding model was the Obama campaign, which was largely funded by very small – around $5 – donations. We set up a three-level donation model for €10, €100 and €1,000 and called them bronze, silver and gold respectively because of the Olympic Games reference. Our goal was to convince 1,000-2,000 people to donate €10 per year in exchange for some behind-the-scene stories – but that was a mistake. The crowdfunding system required a lot of administration, and we never had more than 300 bronze donors at a given time.

The biggest challenge was bridging the gab between people saying that they’d donate and actually doing it. This wasn’t because they didn’t want to fund the work, but because the step of giving €10 was too insignificant for them. On the other hand, silver and gold donors were very loyal to the project and infused it with substantial amounts of money.

 

The Sochi Project © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

 

What would you recommend to someone considering crowdfunding?

Rob: Keep it simple, set a clear goal and make your campaign a bit sexy to increase the audience.

Arnold: Know what you’re getting yourself into and be prepared to spend 50% of your time working on the project and 50% administrating the crowdfunding campaign.

Rob: On the bright side, by the time you finish the project, you have a dedicated audience enjoying and willing to promote your work.

The Sochi Project now exists in the form of a book, exhibition and website – what are the differences between each?

Rob: The storyline’s the same, but you get a different experience on each platform. We achieve this by separating the responsibilities: Arnold is in charge of the website, while I manage the exhibition and we bring the Kummer & Herrman design team on board when working on the books.

Arnold: We went through several versions of the website and settled on one that presents a tight edit and strictly linear narrative and allows us to control how you experience the story.

What advice would you give photographers and journalists planning to work on a long-term project?

Arnold: Be ambitious and look for opportunities to collaborate. Make complex stories and care not only about the content, but also its presentation

Rob: Focus on quality. There are too many people trying to do everything at the same time. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve either, just set out to make the best project ever.

 

The Sochi Project © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

 

 

Images: © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery. From: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (Aperture, 2013).

Original article