Under This Mask, Another Mask

 

What does it mean to interrogate the expanses of queerness, to observe within a label of multitudes a movement to expand beyond the realm of the minority, the marginalized? What does it mean for queerness to take over the world? This is a question that has often been on my lips these four years I have spent as a legally queer adult on this planet. I haven't found an answer that could be labeled concrete or clear, but I have glimpsed possible truths in the refractions and shadows of queer art. The beauty of art that interrogates identity is that it acts as a sort of laboratory experiment, sometimes going awry and exploding all together, but always setting us somewhere further than where we began (even in moments of sheer inferno). 

Discussion and conversation is an irrevocable part of these experiences. As I am talking to you through a screen (a realm of multitudes, refractions, and shadows!) with words written down on a virtual page, there is not much chance for us to discuss what I am about to show you. As such, I don't want to influence you with my interpretations or feelings. If you are interested in looking further into any of the following works, I would recommend the following books for your perusal:

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts, 2015 (Graywolf Press)

My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, 2010 (Wesleyan University Press)

Claude Cahun, Disavowals: or, Cancelled Confessions, 2007 (MIT Press)

Enjoy, cry, resist, multiply,

Spencer, HSAC Board


“I beheld and still behold in anger and agony the eagerness of the world to throw piles of shit on those of us who want to savage or simply cannot help but savage the norms that so desperately need savaging.”

"I liked Claude Cahun. And busting the avant-garde's mythos of itself was, even then, my idea of a good time."

-Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

 Claude Cahun,  I.O.U. (Self-Pride) , [1929-1930]

Claude Cahun, I.O.U. (Self-Pride), [1929-1930]

HOMOSEXUALITY

Roses that wear roses

Enjoy mirrors.

Roses that wear roses must enjoy

The flowers they are worn by.

Roses that wear roses are dying

With a mirror behind them.

None of us are younger but the roses

Are dying.

Men and women have weddings and funerals

Are conceived and destroyed in a formal

Procession.

Roses die upon a bed of roses

With mirrors weeping at them.

                                       -Jack Spicer, 1945

 Claude Cahun,  Autoportrait  [1928]

Claude Cahun, Autoportrait [1928]

 Claude Cahun,  Autoportrait  [1925]

Claude Cahun, Autoportrait [1925]

  J'étends mes bras  [1931-1932]

J'étends mes bras [1931-1932]

“Under this mask, another mask. I will never be finished removing all these faces.”

- Claude Cahun

  Autoportrait  [1928]

Autoportrait [1928]

 
Harvard Student Art Show