Marion Art Gallery opens season with ‘Not Gay’
“Not Gay,” an exhibition that charts the energy and vitality of trans identifications across a range of art works stretching from the immediate post-World War II period to the present day, opens Tuesday, Aug. 29 in the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery at SUNY Fredonia.
The season-opening exhibition includes 61 black and white and color photographs, two films, and two videos by 20 emerging to preeminent artists: Laura Aguilar, Kenneth Anger (1927-2023), Amos Badertscher (1936-2023), Sophie Barbasch, Samatha Box, Maxine Brackbill, Shia Conlon, David De Lira, Jess T. Dugan, John Edmonds, Devin Fenimore, Clifford Prince King, Emily Lucid, Zanele Muholi, Rory Mulligan, B. Proud, June T. Sanders, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Del LaGrace Volcano and Ajamu X.
Works date from 1949 to 2023.
The public will have the opportunity to meet exhibition curators Jonathan David Katz and Ryan Patrick Krueger at a reception in the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery lobby on Friday, Sept. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. Dr. Katz will also give a lecture about the exhibition at 4 p.m. on Sept. 8 in McEwen Hall Room 209. On Saturday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m., participating artist B. Proud will talk about her “Transcending Love” photographs in the Marion Art Gallery.
Katz is a founding figure in queer art history, responsible for the very first queer scholarship on a number of artists beginning in the early 1990s. He has written extensively about gender, sexuality and desire, producing some of the key theoretical work in queer studies in the visual arts. He is also the leading curator of queer art exhibitions internationally. Dr. Katz is an associate professor of Practice, History of Art, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Krueger is an independent curator and lens-based artist whose work addresses themes of grief, loss, and desire through their process of collecting and appropriating photographs to consider the intersections of LGBTQ+ American history and photography. Krueger holds a B.F.A. in Photography from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore., and is currently Digital Services Coordinator for Light Work, a non-profit artist-run photography organization at Syracuse University.
The lecture, gallery talk, reception, and exhibition are free and open to the public. The exhibition catalog will be available online.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are: Amos Badertscher’s Baltimore portraits; Sophie Barbasch’s “Make Up at the Drive-Thru” from her series “Adam;” three photographs by Jess T. Dugan and interviews from the “To Survive on This Shore” portfolio; Zanele Muholi’s photograph “Lerato Dumse, Syracuse, New York;” nine photographs by B. Proud from her “Transcending Love” series; and black and white and color giclée prints by Del LaGrace Volcano.
Katz writes in his exhibition catalog essay, “The stakes have never been higher. As I write this, 21 states have laws or policies banning gender affirming care for youth under 18. Another seven are considering such polices, such that over half of U.S. states have now banned or may ban gender affirming care for young people.”
About the predominance of photography in trans art, Katz writes, “Photography can so well chronicle the process of embodiment, uncovering the sartorial tropes, cultural modes, literal scars, and more abstract wounds of repression that mark a body in the process of becoming. Photography can encode the temporal, bringing time, movement and process forward. And in so doing, in revealing the body as constructed, in process, on its way towards its own reality, trans photography issues a profound challenge to the terms of gender, which continue to insist that gender is a simple and natural category, the sum total of genitals and chromosomes and nothing more.”
Lenders to the exhibition are Light Work, Shia Conlon, B. Proud, Emily Lucid, June T. Sanders, and a private collector. Light Work’s Collection represents a 50-year legacy of supporting emerging and under-represented artists and boasts an extensive, diverse archive that maps the trends and developments in contemporary photography containing more than 4,000 items. Exceptional in scope, the collection covers all genres from documentary to abstract to experimental to conceptual work and is accessible online at collection.lightwork.org.
“Not Gay” is supported by the Fredonia College Foundation’s Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities and Cathy and Jesse Marion Endowment Fund, as well as the Friends of Rockefeller Arts Center.
Marion Art Gallery is located on the main level of Rockefeller Arts Center on the Fredonia campus. Hours are: Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Gallery hours are extended during Homecoming Weekend and open house events and by appointment. For more information about the exhibition or to schedule a group tour, contact Director Barbara Räcker via email or call (716) 673-4897.