The Bay Area Body
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 06 2014 4:33 AM ET
Dairy Queen on set 136-D#2, 2013
20 x 16″
Artist statement: As an artist I explore the subjects of: sexuality, food, politics, power, and identity. In my most recent body of work Dairy Queen, I examine how we visually experience the desirability of the body through a series of oversized phallic food sculptures and performance photography. With this work, I am interested in focusing on speaking to the taboo of male gender self sexualization through appropriation of absurd alternative sensual signals such as public flaunting of an ice cream cone.
Portrait of Jheri, Rankin County, Mississippi, June 2013.
Artist statement: Must queer imagery depict queer bodies? Is queer photographic representation limited to LGBTQI portraiture? Do the political stakes of visibility require a documentary emphasis on community leaders and direct action? Must photographed trans bodies be further subjected to an intrusive gendering gaze in search of telltale signs?
Not necessarily. The Joneses suggest otherwise.
How can we imagine queer landscapes and homelands outside cities? How do differently housed and dressed queer bodies disrupt artists’ generic conventions? How does dis/ability register in a more knowing visual field, where cameras can hardly capture essences but rather record mere moments? Why does this particular family, as they choose to call themselves, warrant attention?
The Joneses are courageous. With quiet determination, they’ve created a queer home in a conservative place: a trailer park in Mississippi. Seventy-three years old mother Jheri was her sons’ biological father, before transitioning. Bradley, developmentally disabled, and brother Trevor both recently came out as gay.
A family friend for three decades, I’ve attempted to highlight Jheri, Brad, and Trevor’s distinctive household in my writing, through documentary film (with director Moby Longinotto) and photography. I believe that to look and listen with respect is to lay bare the unique challenges posed by trans ageing and gay belonging in rural working-class environments with a tenuous relationship to the body politic.
Lee, Kang Seung
Untitled (Boadwee), 2013
Needlepoint on cotton
8 x 8 inches (framed)
Artist statement: This on-going project is to bring one of the most domestic, underrated, under-appreciated and feminine media (needlepoint) to document Queer Art History as well as Homo Erotic Art including gay porn industry.
Starting from early 2013, I have been doing needlepoint works of homoerotic images. These works are mostly small sized from 2 x 3 inches to 4 x 5 inches making a connection with how we look at art images through electronic screens that are often cropped, stored and reused.
Significant queer art images made from late 19 century to late 20 century, from Thomas Eakins to General Idea to Leigh Bowery were chosen.
Part of the project is in collaboration with Conner Habib (writer and gay porn star) – Conner is in the process of selecting the most important gay porn stars in 20th Century gay porn industry and their iconic scenes and poses. He is also writing essays on the images.
Most colors of the threads were chosen from Andy Warhol’s Iconic Electric Chair print series.
I believe the project works not only as a historical survey of 20th Century Queer (especially gay male) history but also questions the difference between art images and porn images.
Nguyen, Hoang Tan
Nguyen Tan Hoang, 5 min. 35 sec., 2011, USA, Color & B/W, Silent
Artist statement: The video explores gay Asian men’s (GAMs) cruising strategies on American gay sex hookup websites. In environments deemed open and accessible, affording new sexual freedoms, GAMs often encounter such pronouncements as “No fats, no femmes, no Asians,” that is, caveats that severely constrain their cyber-cruising opportunities. I draw on two sets of GAMs’ cruising strategies in the face of such rejection: the headless torso pics as a way of “tactical masking” their GAM-ness and the use of screen names that proudly assert their Asianness (“GAM” and “AZN”) and those that exploit shameful racial slurs (“chink” and “gook”). The video combs online sex cruising grounds for articulations of gay Asian men’s desires and demands.