TO CUT UP: QUEER ART
For my Global Queer Activism class, taught by Professor Alvaro Jarrin, I was tasked with creating a project that had some form of activism in it.
Already having an interest in collage I decided to pursue this avenue and reflect on what made a piece of artwork inherently political vs just a really great piece of art. The result of that reflection was that the context of the art, it's location, the audience, etc. mattered far more than the content itself.
So I started working on a series of collages that would be political for the venue they were meant to be in The College of the Holy Cross. Holy Cross is a small, Catholic, Jesuit institution that has a predominantly Catholic population so already my work would inspire controversy. Which was part, but not all of what I wanted as I wanted to inspire and challenge people.
For queer people I wanted my art to serve as an affirmation that in such a heteronormative system they were seen and validated.
For straight people I wanted my art to challenge them and reconsider what it means to be queer and to think past just the physical act of sex.
The title comes from both the physical act of cutting paper but also the idea of the gaze and how it objectifies bodies. Feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey was one of the first to discuss how the cinema camera cut up bodies into bite-sized chunks so the [male] audience could objectify and enjoy it easier. Rather than tackle queer rights as a whole issue in each piece, each piece is a bite-sized chunk of queer liberation.
As a gay man on this campus I have had numerous people ask me "but how does gay sex work?" like it was some kind of mystery and that was the only thing gay people did. So that was the basis for the content: gay touch, sensuality, and sexuality.
image to left: A Bouquet of Fucking Pansies (both the flowers and the men): The Garden of Paradise; Adam and Steve