This line of enquiry would propose “queer ceramics” or a “queer sensibility” or a “queer aesthetic” as manifested in particular ceramic works that directly address gender and sexuality issues. Completely inter-twined with this question is of course, the deconstruction of the term “queer” and how it has evolved in recent scholarship. Productive as it may be to talk about a specifically “Queer aesthetic” one would need to avoid making it an essentialist dead-end. Paul Mathieu’s book titled Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics, especially chapter 3 “Giving Meaning” and chapter 4 “Creating Desire”, provide some great insights.
March 25, 2008
Alexander Doty defines queerness as “a quality related to any expression that can be marked as contra-, non-, or anti-straight”. Queer activists have in fact, consistently opposed the reductive equation of Queer to sexual orientation. As a result, a “queer” position has now become a radical, political position of non-normative and oppositional politics. The intro to Alexander Doty’s book Making Things Perfectly Queer, and the chapter titled “There’s Something Queer Here” from the same book put the term “Queer” in perspective.
Lacey Jane Robert’s essay, titled Re-imagining Craft Identities Using Tactics of Queer Theory constructs a nuanced argument about the queer and marginalized status of crafts in the arts hierarchy. While this essay is written in the context of fibers, it can easily be extended as a mode of intervention in ceramics. Also relevant is Jose Esteban Munoz’s book titled Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. The introduction of the book lays out the basic terms and concepts for understanding disidentification as a queer strategy in the arts.
As promised, here is the blog to continue our rigorous discussion about Queer Theory and Contemporary Ceramics that we started in NCECA. A lot of you wanted the readings and the handout, so I am posting it all here (they are also posted in the individual discussion threads). If you come across other relevant reading material, please post to this thread.
Paul Mathieu’s book titled Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics, is available from amazon.com
Jose Esteban Munoz’s book titled Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics is available from amazon.com