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No "Gestures of return"? : querying queer aesthetics in North American art


No "Gestures of return"? : querying queer aesthetics in North American art

Silver, Erin (2009) No "Gestures of return"? : querying queer aesthetics in North American art. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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MR63103.pdf - Accepted Version


Queer art holds a troubled, and troubling, position in art and aesthetic discourse. The task of defining an authoritative queer aesthetics is complicated by the nature of queer theory, a framework liable to shifts in definition, and founded on a commitment to sociohistorical, sexual, and gender transgression. The range of artworks considered queer is both broad and ahistorical. Certain exhibitions have taken on the task of surveying or representing queer art; using different categorical guidelines, they have naturally achieved very different results. The thesis wants to 'out' the queer aesthetic dilemma by asking how the radically pliant, uncontainable nature of queer theory can be represented in queer art? Four queer artists--Kim Kielhofner, Robert Rauschenberg, Emily Roysdon, and David Wojnarowicz--and one queer arts community--Toronto's present-day Queen Street West arts community--are considered. Their production is evaluated in terms of its contributions to a theory of queer aesthetics based on divergence, or, as queer theorist Sara Ahmed puts it, "fail[ure] to make ... gestures of return." Identifying strategies of relationality, intergenerational transmission, cultural coding, alternative autobiography, and queer world-making as notable aspects of queer cultural production, this thesis shows how queer artists both resist and appropriate cultural hegemony in order to preserve queer legacies. It is through this engagement and disassociation that queer art and queer aesthetics come to be defined.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Silver, Erin
Pagination:viii, 131 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, M
ID Code:976550
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:28
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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