Drama Queer: seducing social change, curated visual art exhibition

Visual art exhibition curated by Jonathan D. Katz and Conor Moynihan.

At the centre of this year’s festival is Drama Queer: seducing social change, a visual art exhibition curated by Jonathan D. Katz. This exhibition explores the role of emotion in contemporary queer art as a form of political practice. As a mechanism to coalesce feelings and direct them with activist intent, emotion is increasingly central to much contemporary work. This exhibition places the queer use of emotion into a historical frame, arguing that the solicitation of an emotional response has been of central import at least since the 1960s, as underscored by critics from Frank O’Hara to Jill Johnston to Gene Swenson.

While much of the art world foregrounded formal innovation, leaving the nakedly emotional unacknowledged, even unseen, queers have long championed the emotional in contradistinction to the formal. A means to challenge the dominant formal values so often elevated by critics, while undercutting anti-expressive postmodernist tenets, emotion had the added value of returning the field of art-making to the socio-political present. With the advent of AIDS, this emotional undercurrent grew in force and power, challenging the equanimity of dominant culture in the face of holocaust. Nakedly manipulative, this earlier queer art sought to move the viewer into action.

Drama Queer solicits a range of contemporary work towards understanding how feelings function in our political present, and the different facets of art and emotion — political emotion, erotic emotion etc. Centred around three never before exhibited monumental paintings by Attila Richard Lukacs, this exhibition will explore art that seeks to engender social change through making the viewer an accomplice, queering their perspective or seducing them into seeing the world from a dissident vantage point.

Visual artists: Del LaGrace Volcano, Angela Grossmann,Monica Majoli, Attila Richard Lukacs, Kent Monkman, Andreas Fuchs, Vika Kirchenbauer, Zanele Muholi, Zackary Drucker, Laura Aguilar,Cassils, Andrew Holmquist, Keijaun Thomas, Shan Kelley, Joey Terrill, Carl Pope, Vincent Tiley, Sean Fader, 2Fik, Laura Aguilar, Bill Jacobson, Rudy Lemcke, Jesse Finley Reed, George Steeves.

QAF is delighted to welcome Jonathan D. Katz and Conor Moynihan as curators for 2016’s visual art exhibition Drama Queer: seducing social change. Katz was the first full-time American academic to be tenured in the field of gay and lesbian studies, and his work as curator, scholar, and activist has had a profound impact on the understanding of queer art and artists in both academia and the larger world. He is best known for co-curating Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2010, the first openly queer exhibition at a major US museum. He also founded the Harvey Milk Institute, the largest queer studies institute in the world. Katz currently directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and serves as the president of the Leslie Lohman Museum in New York City.