Queer Art & Identity Politics

“I don’t believe that gender, race, or sexuality have to be identities, I think that they’re vectors of power.” Judith Butler

Drew Pettifer, The Decisive Moment, 2009.

Drew Pettifer, The Decisive Moment, 2009.

It is necessary to “radically challenge the entire concept of an identity based upon sexual orientation,”[1] wrote Elizabeth Ashburn in her 1996 publication on lesbian art. Twenty years on, American feminist and queer art theorist Amelia Jones finds it necessary to echo Ashburn in her 2012 book Seeing Differently reminding us to “think beyond […] the grain of binary models of identity in favour of multiple, intersectional, and relational processes of identification.”[2] Sexuality must converge with issues of race, gender, geographical and socio-political location, class, religion, age, etc. to reveal the immense complexity and diversity of subjectivities. Jones likens this intersectional approach to anamorphic viewing which distorts the one-point perspective to reveal a new, previously neglected viewing angle.[3] The result of this perspectival distortion is de-objectification, de-fetishisation, and abandonment “of oppositional othering.”[4] Continue reading