I am proud to serve as co-chair of the Queer Caucus for Art and touched by your vote of confidence. Like Chris, I was energized by the current of urgency and the sense of solidarity that galvanized our events and sessions at the Boston conference. John Hanson, James Smalls, James Boyles, Jason Goldman, and Ryan E. Burns presented thought-provoking papers to a full house at the Caucus-sponsored panel chaired by Peter Holliday, "Classical Antiquity and the Expression of Queer Desires." Caucus members, including Maria DeGuzmán, Richard Meyer, and Peggy Phelan, participated in sessions on topics ranging from Jackson Pollock to Pedagogy. The "Queer Eye" exhibition, curated by David Areford, rendered the diversity of our perspectives, positions, and bodies visible. The closing reception, at the Harbor Gallery, U Mass, not only gave Caucus members a pretext to venture beyond the confines of the conference center but also provided a welcome space of convergence outside the structure of CAA. "Another Names Project: Naming Homophobia," the lunch-time panel organized by Chris Reed and Paul Jaskot, was upbeat and crowded, despite the Saturday time-slot, thanks to the pertinence of the topic, the quality of the presentations, and Chris's skillful moderation. Jonathan D. Katz, Tee Corinne, Richard Meyer, and Jason Goldman shared their experiences and perspectives on institutional homophobia and fielded questions and comments from a particularly engaged audience.
The business meeting/reception was also exceptionally well attended. James Saslow's eloquent parting remarks as co-chair set the stage for a discussion of the Caucus's future. The meeting generated interest in a number of new Caucus initiatives -- including generating guerrilla art actions, museum lecture series, teaching resource packets, alliances with other academic queer caucuses, and a dedicated issue of Art Journal. I think we all left the meeting with a sense of renewed commitment. Those who agreed to assume leadership on the initiatives will report individually on each of these projects.
In that capacity, I'd like to take this opportunity to report briefly on the guerrilla art initiative, to invite your feedback and, especially, to solicit suggestions for Guerrilla Girl-style actions to deploy within the timeframe of the conference in NYC next year. Chris Reed and I have already set one action in motion. We have successfully lobbied for queer audio tours of museum collections at the Chicago Art Institute and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The scripts, developed by or in coordination with the museums' education departmen ts, will be posted as a PDF file at the Art Institute for the Gay Games this summer, and as a podcast on the website of the SFMOMA sometime next year. We are especially hopeful that the latter model will prove contagious and that queer constituents -- both inside and outside of art institutions -- will produce and post podcasts from queer perspectives that relate to collections around the country. Please contact me with your ideas about other guerrilla actions.
I would also like to encourage you to submit proposals for the Caucus-sponsored lunch-time panel devoted to "Art Partnerships: the Erotics of Collaboration," co-chaired by Harmony Hammond and myself. (call for participation on page 4 of this newsletter, with other news on CAA in NYC 2007)
In closing, a word about our friend and tireless advocate, the pioneering feminist artist/activist, caucus co-founder, newsletter co-editor/book reviewer, teacher, writer, community builder, Tee Corinne. When I assumed the role of Caucus co-chair, Jim Saslow forwarded Tee's reflective letter concerning her tenure in the position. Tee began this letter, penned well over a decade ago for the benefit of subsequent lesbian co-chairs, with the following mission statement: "I decided that my place within the organization was to be an advocate for women." She noted that within the Caucus, at that point, men outnumbered women by about four to one. That this is no longer the case is a direct result of her efforts. "Any way that you can make yourself visible," she advised, "helps all the women in the organization. Work for parity at the organizational level. Contact women directly and ask what they would be willing to do. Encourage them to do it ... Part of the function of co-chairs is mentoring." And that is precisely what Tee has done throughout her career in every community (and there are many) to which she has made a commitment. Thank you, Tee.
Tirza T. Latimer
Chris Reed, Co-Chair
I am truly honored to have been elected co-chair of the Queer Caucus for Art at the Boston business meeting. I follow an illustrious list of co-chairs whose generosity and commitment to our community of artists and scholars (and scholar/artists) is inspiring. And I am especially excited to have been elected with Tirza Latimer, whose 2005 book Women Together/Women Apart: Portraits of Lesbian Paris was undoubtedly one of my best recent reads. I recommend it highly even to those not directly in the field of French modernism as a model for how to unite theoretical sophistication and good sense in an analysis that is sensitive to issues of historical specificity but never loses sight of passion and eroticism.
But I don't think it's only my elation over Tirza's book that left me flying out of Boston (these notes were drafted at 30,000 feet) with a real sense of optimism for the Caucus and the state of queer visual studies in general. This may surprise members who could not attend CAA 2006. There was certain amount of pessimism -- which I shared -- circulation over our discussion listserve, and in my casual conversations with others in the field, in the months leading up to the conference. But suddenly it seems like folks are waking up from our dumb-founded amazement at the idiocy of the world and fighting back. It was heartening to see an overflow crowd at the business meeting, lots of people at the really powerful "Queer Eye" exhibition curated by David Areford at U Mass Boston, great turnout at both Caucus panels, and truly lively enthusiastic discussion at all these events!
The sense of vigor at our events was matched by panels sponsored by the Women's Caucus for Art, where announcements about major exhibitions of feminist art at the Brooklyn Museum and in Los Angeles suggested that we are finally biting back at the backlash. The buzz over the current two-special-issue art-themed GLQ co-edited by Richard Meyer and David Rom‡n added to the excitement. There was even some kind of erotic guerrilla art event taking place on the bulletin bo ards at the Hines Center, which (as far as I know) had nothing to do with the Caucus, but certainly seemed very queer.
The challenge now, of course, is to capitalize on all the ideas and energy present at the conference. We have a number of new initiatives (or continuations of old initiatives) described elsewhere in this newsletter, each with a contact person who generously volunteered to coordinate it. My plea to all of you who are reading this to read about these initiatives, think about what you could contribute, and get in touch with those coordinators. Remember: this is your Caucus. "It" will only accomplish what we do.
I hate to close on this sad note, but I have been thinking a lot lately about one person who has contributed so much to all the Caucus has done since it was founded in (I think) 1986, and that is Tee Corinne. Tee's done so much to hold us together through the years with her determination, patience, and warmth. Readers of the listserve will know that Tee has been diagnosed with cancer. Updates about Tee can be found in the journal at http://jeansirius.com/ TeeACorinne/tee_update.html. Ultimately, as I said, the Caucus is just us, a group of people who care enough to make things happen. I know we all send our thoughts, prayers, good energy -- whatever we have -- to Tee.
Minutes of the
business meeting in Boston,
23 February 2006
The annual business meeting was held in conjunction with the reception on Thursday evening during the College Art conference. Outgoing co-chair Jim Saslow chaired the meeting. Twenty-nine people were in attendance when we introduced ourselves but another dozen or more came and went as the meeting and discussion went on.
Conference events were announced and/or discussed. The exhibition "Queer Eye" at UMass Boston, which we co-sponsored, was reviewed in the current issue of Bay windows.
Susan Aberth, treasurer and membership coordinator, noted a balance of $1058 and membership of about 250. The balance did not include reception costs.
Jim reported on the second edition of the GLBT bibliography. Ray Anne Lockard reports having 10-12 thousand items and will work with students this summer to complete the compilation and editing.
Nominations for co-chair were announced: Tirza True Latimer and Chris Reed; with no other nominations from the floor, Tirza and Chris were elected by acclamation. Susan will continue as treasurer, Sherman Clarke will continue as secretary, Sherman and Tee Corinne will continue as newsletter editors.
The majority of the meeting/discussion dealt with the mission and goals of the caucus, based on the work of the Committee on the Future of the Caucus and on the results of a survey conducted by email in December and January. Though the number of survey responses was quite small, there was considerable input from those who responded. The open discussion lasted for more than an hour, with lots of ideas and concerns expressed. About a dozen sheets went around to get names and email addresses of people interested in a particular activity. The activities include museum lecture series, image set, speakers bureau, press contact list, exhibition, panel, mentors, directory, website, special issue of a journal, relating to other professional associations, mentoring. Program ideas: intergenerational, possibly dialogues (Tee with younger artist influenced by Cunt coloring book was suggested); grad student papers; emerging scholar (including those new to topic even if not new to field); intersections/ collaborations; and creative partnerships. [See co-chairs' letters and other items in this newsletter for more information about particular initiatives.]
Minutes by Sherman Clarke, secretary
A primary need of the Queer Caucus -- and among queers in general -- is to think across generational lines. On one hand, it's a sign of strength that we have enough longevity to experience generational tensions. On the other hand, it's important that these tensions not pull us apart. The initiatives I am proposing here respond to two recent developments in the Caucus.
First, at the business meeting in Boston in February, the idea came up to instigate a mentorship program within the Queer Caucus. There was enthusiasm for this proposal, and a number of people signed up offering or seeking mentorship. I saw a mismatch, however, in the results: those offering mentoring were art historians, those seeking mentoring were artists. And I did not solicit enough other kinds of information to make these matches with any confidence, so this needs (with my apologies) to be reorganized.
Then in May, as those of you who subscribe to the listserve may have noted, something of a brawl broke out along generational lines over issues in art history. Many of the comments in this debate were very thoughtful, others seemed to me to display a (to my mind) discouraging contempt for viewpoints more caricatured than really understood. A scarcity of resources and a sense of embattlement make it so easy for us to turn on each other, rather than working with each other. I am very concerned that the Caucus work against that tendency, because there are real reserves of knowledge and passion in all our generations of queer scholars and artists, and, frankly, we need each other.
So my proposals are as follows:
First, I want to re-conceive the mentoring program as something more reciprocal, in which pairs of Caucus members work across the generation gap to understand, support, and advise one another's work. Instead of starting from the premise that we ha ve something to teach each other, in other words, we will start from the premise that we have much to learn from each other.
Second, I would like to make this the focus of our panel at the 2008 CAA conference.
The pairs need not segregate artists from art historians, nor do they need to segregate by sex. For many of us, those categories are overlapping in any case! Artists can (and should) read art history, historians can (and should) look at art being made today. And we all need to talk over and around the old gender binaries.
So to get this started, I want to welcome Caucus members to email me if they would be interested in being paired with someone else to correspond, read/see each other's work, discuss the state of the profession and their own careers -- all with the aim of strengthening cross-generational bonds within our community.
Please give a brief description of who you are and what kind of person (artist or art historian? area of interst?) you'd most want to be paired with for this initiati ve. I can try to sort these out, or simply post calls on the listserv (this is especially relevant for newsletter readers who are not on the listserve). Send these to email@example.com
Alternatively, if anyone wants to post his/her own call for a partner in this project on the listserv, please do so.
Calls for participation in the panel will come later (first, it will have to be approved by CAA if it is going to be a full-length session).
REPRESENTATION IN MUSEUMS
& SPECIAL ISSUE OF ART JOURNAL
Jonathan D. Katz
I'd like to give a brief update on two of the proposals discussed at the 2006 annual business meeting. The first concerns a new study to measure the frequency of queer representation in NYC museums since 1995. Sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force, the study will give us the actual metrics of queer representation in the museum world. An exceedingly capable dissertation student has been hired to conduct the study and a report of approximately 50 pages will be released by the end of summer. If you would like to suggest we look at any particular exhibitions or institution or have any other information you think might be useful to the study, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secondly, plans are afoot for a proposal to the Art Journal for a special issue devoted to new currents and issues in queer art history. We are actively soliciting suggestions for the proposal and, if it's accepted, will in turn actively recruit abstracts for contributions. We expect to send the proposal to the Art Journal by the end of July, so if you would like to weigh in, please do so soon. Suggestions can be sent to Jonathan D. Katz at email@example.com or Tirza True Latimer at sbcglobal.net.
OF LGBTQ SCHOLARS
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York maintains an ŇOnline Directory of LGBTQ StudiesÓ -- a searchable collection of scholars within universities, non-governmental institutions, and other places. For more information, to search the database, or to submit your information, go to web.gc.cuny.edu/Clags/online.htm
WEB ISSUES & BLOG
A flurry of messages on the list in early May pointed toward a weakness of email lists: you canŐt efficiently post images. Another group at the Boston business meeting circled around web issues and perhaps that group can look at a blog for the Caucus. There, we could mix images with text, add links more easily, and follow threads of messages more easily.
Looking forward to College Art Association
in New York City, 14-17 February 2007
"Art partners: the erotics of collaboration" - proposals due now! with CV - chaired by Harmony Hammond (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tirza Latimer (email@example.com)
Space has been reserved at the LGBT Center in New York City for an exhibition of small works. Dates are February 5-28, 2007; a reception will be held during CAA, probably Thursday evening from 6-8 pm. Details to follow. If you would like to help on the exhibition, please contact Jim Bergesen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sessions chaired by caucus members:
* "Troubling the waters: homoeroticism and the politics of idenity in black visual culture" - chaired by James Smalls
* "What's love got to do with it? the myth and politics of love in art and art history" - chaired by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard
"Immigrant women and their artist daughters" - CAA Committee on Women in the Arts - chaired by Carolyn H. Manosevitz