Omniscient: Queer Documentation in an Image Culture June 2021-Jan 2022, Leslie-Lohman Museum
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JUN 18 - JAN 02, 2022
Curated by Avram Finkelstein

For decades, even centuries, queer visual culture has thrived by reinterpreting existing cultural images as a means of forging identity, finding community, and insisting on distinct representations. The result is a vibrant history of queer iconographies, many of which have percolated into popular visual culture. But what can queerness look like in our disorienting contemporary image landscape, in which billions of digital images are shared daily; social media has become more ubiquitous than print, film, and television combined; and online relevance has become a mechanism for survival? How do we experience identity amid today’s torrents of avatars, app-filtered selfies, and near-instantaneous obsolescence? How do we document queer culture going forward, when representation appears as a haze of possibilities?

OMNISCIENT presents a group of more than forty artists navigating these rapidly evolving visual languages through various strategies. They excavate and reclaim archives of Hollywood and popular culture; propose forms of queer monumentality and intergenerational memorialization; imagine alternatives to capitalist logics; and even sidestep representation in favor of sensory citations of the body, including sound and touch. These artists’ works mark the legacy of twentieth-century visual histories while negotiating the accelerating image cultures of the present—mapping queer cultural identity with a particular affection, skepticism, and prescience arrived at from the social margins.

Participating artists: Justin Allen, Stephen Andrews, Sarah E. Brook, Wells Chandler with Brandi Twilley and Jennifer Coates, Liz Collins, Kerry Downey, Angela Dufresne, Joy Episalla, Yevgeniy Fiks, Chitra Ganesh, Camilo Godoy, Nicki Green, Erik Hanson, Roey Victoria Heifetz, Edith Isaac-Rose, Tahir Carl Karmali, Deborah Kass, Esvin Alarcón Lam, Kang Seung Lee, Izidora L. LETHE, Glenn Ligon, Loring McAlpin, Omar Mismar, Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe, em north, Russell Perkins, José Rafael Perozo, LJ Roberts, Catalina Schliebener, Anna Sew Hoy, Aliza Shvarts, Pacifico Silano, Pamela Sneed, Jonny Sopotiuk, Thomas Tomczak, Jason Villegas, Frederick Weston, and Paul Wong.