Queer Commodity

March 7, 2002 March - April 28, 2002

This bawdy boutique is the sequel to QueerLookingQueerActing, a survey exhibition curated for the Mount in 1997 by RobinMetcalfe. That project traced the evolution of activist graphics in Halifax during the 1970s and 1980s. Queer Commodity samples the blend of dissident and consumer identities that have emerged since that time among gay and lesbian artists.

Conceived and organized by Curatorial Assistant Spencer Ramsay, Queer Commodity is saturated with style and attitude.

The mainstreaming of queer culture has brought a more polished political style to its activism. While some lesbian and gay artists define themselves as belonging to a minority, they also participate in the widespread tendency among young visual artists to claim subjectivities formed by the shared consumption of commercialized culture.

The Catalogue Essay, Grab Your Baskets, Girls, We're Going Shopping was written by StephenBruhm.

Contributors: Mike Hickey (St. John?s), Johannes Zits (Toronto) and Dyke Action Machine (Carrie Moyer, Sue Schaffner, New York) hijack and invert the codes of gay window advertising, a commercial strategy that tries to incorporate gay appeal without alienating larger markets. The exhibition is composed of amusing counter-commodities installed as a slightly tawdry boutique. The wares include: a functioning drag make-up lending library, posters that package lesbian aesthetics for under-30 dykes, and billboard-size paintings that insert homoerotic fantasy into the public economy of desire.

At the opening reception, Mike Hickey delivered a lecture on Safe Make-up Sharing Practices before inaugurating his innovative library. Participants boarded a charted bus at Eye Level Gallery on Barrington Street; drag attire was optional.

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