I was excited to see Lesbian Matters — as we truly are in desperate need of exhibitions dealing with lesbian visual culture — but I was saddened by its lack of complexity.
On Friday night at the Louis B. James gallery, in a spare white room, a predominantly white and relatively good-looking American Apparelesque crowd gathered under the auspices of queer-art-fashion-activism for the launch of the Purple and Gold capsule collection.
Holding a sign that reads “I am your worst fear, I am your best fantasy,” a photograph of a proud and defiant woman at a gay liberation march in the 1970s opens Phaidon’s newly published Art & Queer Culture, illustrating the dual visions of queer identity by the field of art history.
Ridykeulous, founded by artists Nicole Eisenman and A.L. Steiner in 2005, describes itself as an effort to “subvert, sabotage, and overturn the language commonly used to define feminist and lesbian art,” primarily through exhibitions, performances, and zines. Attacking the marginalization of queer and feminist art as “alternative” cultures, they insist upon participating in mainstream dialogues about art and culture; in adopting the role of curators and organizing exhibitions, Steiner and Eisenman forcefully insert themselves and their collaborators into the spaces, both literally and figuratively, of the art establishment. Though not all of the artists in Readykeulous are female, nor do all identify as queer, they share an interest in disrupting the status quo.