QUEER STRATEGIES IN STUDIO PRACTICE
 
68-002, SPRING, 1998
Hanes Art Center #216, Tuesdays: 2:00 - 4:00 + Thursdays: 2:15 - 4:50
elin o'Hara slavick: studio/office: HAC #312, 962-0216,
eoslavic@email.unc.edu
Office Hours: Wednesdays: 3:00 - 5:00
                                                                                                                 
Queer: Singular; odd; eccentric; quaint.
Strategy: 1.The science of military position and movement in war  2.The use of stratagem or artifice, as in business. (College Standard Dictionary, 1926)

Queer: 1. Deviating from the expected or normal; strange. 2. Odd or unconventional in behavior; eccentric 3. Of a questionable nature or character; suspicious. 4. Slang. Fake; counterfeit. 5. Feeling slightly ill; queasy. 6. Slang. Homosexual. queered, queer.ing, queers. Slang.  1. To ruin or thwart. 2. To put in a bad position.
Strategy: 1. The science or art of military command as applied to the overall planning and conduct of large-scale combat operations. (The American Heritage Dictionary, 1982)

What does it mean to be alive and to make art in an apocalyptic era framed/re-framed by changing borders, ferocious racial violence, irrational fears of otherness and hybridity, spiritual emptiness, AIDS and other massively destructive diseases, ecological devastation, and, of course, lots of virtual space?  How to function as a fluid border-crosser, intellectual coyote, and intercultural diplomat in and around this abrupt landscape?

        "Standing on the map of my political desires I toast to a borderless future. The work of the artist is to force open
        the matrix of reality to introduce unsuspected possibilities...I wish to propose a third alternative: the hybrid - a
        cultural, political, aesthetic, and sexual hybrid. My version of the hybrid is cross-racial, polylinguistic, and
        multicontextual. From a disadvantaged position, the hybrid expropriates elements from all sides to create more
        open and fluid systems. The artist who practices hybridity can be at the same time an insider and an outsider, and
        expert in border crossings, a temporary member of multiple communities, a citizen of two or more nations. S/he
        performs multiple roles in multiple contexts. At times s/he can operate as a media pirate, assume the role of
        nomadic chronicler, intercultural translator, or political trickster. S/he speaks from more than one perspective, to
        more than one community, about more than one reality. His/her job is to trespass, bridge, interconnect, reinterpret,
        remap, and redefine; to find the outer limits of his/her culture and cross them.... "
                                                                                        - from Guillermo Gomez-Pena, THE NEW WORLD BORDER
 

This class is designed for students seriously interested in gay + lesbian cultural production who wish to pursue their own visual projects, both formally and conceptually. This class is for students who want to explore the notion of a queer aesthetic through visiting artist lectures, close readings of theoretical, poetic, art historical, and autobiographical texts, technical demonstrations, critiques, collaboration, and discussion. The use of all technically possible and theoretically appropriate media is encouraged.  We will organize a group exhibition and/or collaborative project. We will have at least four group critiques and many slide/video/film presentations of historical and contemporary art that works through, in response to, from, within, against, and in celebration of gay + lesbian issues: sexuality, anatomy, identity, politics, memory, dress, race, class, gender, psychoanalysis, and science. I will meet with each student individually at least once during the semester. Please feel free to sign up for additional meetings. My office hours sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board across the hall from my studio, Hanes Art Center #312. You must sign up by Tuesday at 5p.m. Please make sure you sign up on the correct sheet.

Required readings are on reserve in The Sloan Art Library which we will discuss in class. Please keep the reserve folder in order. I encourage you to bring copies of relevant readings and put them at the back of the reserve folder, in the section: Optional Readings. I urge you to copy the entire folder at one time and have your own reserve reading notebook for the semester. I also urge you to keep a notebook for this class in which you write down questions, observations, and ideas in response to the readings so that you will ALL be prepared to contribute to the class discussions.
Required books, available at the INTERNATIONALIST Bookstore, 405 W. Franklin:

The Straight Mind, Monique Wittig
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nancy Spector/Guggenheim Museum
In A Different Light, edited by Blake, Rinder, and Scholder
Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison

GRADES: Projects: 50% - There will be at least four visual projects/critiques. I grade each project based on concept, formal resolution, originality, effort, installation, use of ideas/theories from the readings and in-class discussion, and ability to listen and respond to constructive criticism and suggestions during the critiques of your own work, as well as your ability to offer your own perceptions and suggestions during the critiques of others work. You are always able to re-work a project if you are not satisfied with your grade, but you must talk with me about it first.

Participation: 50% Participation includes the reading of all required texts, discussion of the readings, involvement in and contribution to the critiques, attendance, and overall interest, effort, and energy directed towards the class.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH YOUR GRADE, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SIGN UP FOR A MEETING WITH ME TO DISCUSS IT. If you must miss a class due to an emergency or illness, please notify me BEFORE class, or as soon as possible. More than 2 unexplained absences will result in the lowering of your final grade by half a grade. 2 tardies = 1 absence. I take attendance promptly at the start of each class. You will receive an F for each unfulfilled requirement. There will be no mid-term exam and your final exam is your final project.

        "Art that conforms to established rules, specifically those rules that have been instituted outside of the practice of art,
        becomes a form of propaganda. Even is its message is subversive, its form will always be conformist,
        underlying form being the true residing place of power in any system of communication. Whoever controls the rules
        of the conversation controls the conversation."
                                                                        - from Bill Viola, REASONS FOR KNOCKING AT AN EMPTY HOUSE
 

        "I longed passionately to teach differently from the way I had been taught since high school. The first paradigm that
        shaped my pedagogy was the idea that the classroom should be an exciting place, never boring. And if boredom
        should prevail, then pedagogical strategies were needed that would intervene, alter, even disrupt the
        atmosphere...To enter classroom settings in universities with the will to share the desire to encourage excitement,
        was to transgress...As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our
        interest in one another, in hearing one anothers voices, in recognizing one anothers presence...any radical
        pedagogy must insist that everyones presence is acknowledged...Excitement is generated through collective
        effort..."
                   -from bell hooks, TEACHING TO TRANSGRESS / EDUCATION AS THE PRACTICE OF FREEDOM

1 WEEK: Thursday, January 8: - Introduction / Why are you taking this class? Why are Queer Studies important? Can you give an example of a queer strategy?
- Mab Segrests class: 20th Century Gay + Lesbian Southern Literature, Tuesdays, 4-6, (through Womens Studies)
- Syllabus / Requirements.
- State of the Art/Art of the State video and slides of students work
Reading Assignment #1: The Straight Mind, Monique Wittig, due Tuesday, January 13, available at the Internationalist
Please bring in a visual example of a queer strategy and a straight strategy found in a magazine, art book, film/video still, or any other source. Due for discussion, Thursday, January 15.

2 WEEK:Tuesday, January 13: Courtney Fitzpatrick - visiting artist lecture and discussion. Discuss Monique Wittig.
Reading Assignment #2: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nancy Spector, whole book due Tuesday, January 27, available at the
Internationalist
Thursday, January 15: Discuss queer and straight found images. Degenerate Art video.

3 WEEK: Tuesday, January 20: Basic Photography Demonstration - rayograms, 35mm 8x10 printing from negative + from slide, xerox transfers.
Thursday, January 22: Basic Printmaking Demonstration - gum printing + silkscreen - with Professor Beth Grabowski.

4 WEEK: Tuesday, January 27: Discuss Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Slides. Reading Assignment #4: In A Different Light (Visual Culture, Sexual Identity, Queer Practices), edited by Nayland Blake, Lawrence Rinder, Amy Scholder, whole book, due Tuesday, February 3
Thursday, January 29: Amy Cappellazzo - Curator of Exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, UNC at Greensboro, visiting curator lecture + discussion
Reading Assignment #5: Death and the Marketplace by David Deitcher, on reserve, due Thursday, February 5

5 WEEK: Tuesday, February 3: Discuss In A Different Light. Ana Mendieta video.
Reading Assignment #6: Toward the New Degeneracy, Bruce Benderson, on reserve, due Thursday, February 12.
Thursday, February 5: Robert Blanchon - visiting artist lecture + discussion

6 WEEK: Tuesday, February 10: CRITIQUE #1.
Reading Assignment #7: from Memoirs of a Race Traitor, by Mab Segrest,
Coming Out + A Bridge, Not a Wedge, on reserve, due Tuesday, February 17.
Thursday, February 12: Tony Just - visiting artist lecture + discussion

7 WEEK: Tuesday, February 17: Discuss Mab Segrest, in class visit with Mab.
Reading Assignment #8: from Elaine Showalters Sexual Anarchy, The Way We Write Now: Syphilis and Aids and from Carol Squiers The Critical Image, The Pleasures of Looking + Simon Watneys Photography and Aids + Safer Representations, on reserve, due Tuesday, February 24.
Thursday, February 19: Open Day. Individual Meetings. Hand out A Freak Among Freaks: The Zine Scene by S. Bryn Austin with Pam Gregg from Sisters, Sexperts, Queers. Look at zines and transformed books - discuss
collaboration: group show, zine, poster project, performative evening, site-specific installation, public art project....
Reading Assignment #9: from Uncontrollable Bodies, edited by Sappington +Stallings, Dense Moments, by Gregg Bordowitz and Art After Stonewall: 12 Artists Interviewed, by Holland Cotter and Tony Kushners commencement
address, What I Think, on reserve, due Thursday, February 26.

8 WEEK: Tuesday, February 24: Discuss Showalter, Squiers, and Watney.
Thursday, February 26: Discuss Bordowitz, Cotter, and Kushner. Video Fast
Trip, Long Drop, Gregg Bordowitz.

9 WEEK: Tuesday, March 3: CRITIQUE #2.
Reading Assignment #10: Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison, available at the Internationalist and Lesbian Feminism and the Gay Rights Movement: Another View of Male Supremacy, Another Separatism by Marilyn Frye from The Politics of Reality, on reserve, due Tuesday, March 17.
Thursday, March 5: Lisa Ross - visiting artist lecture + discussion.

                                                                                   S P R I N G  B R E A K

10 WEEK: Tuesday, March 17: Discuss Dorothy Allison. Slides + hand-outs on Jo Spence.
Thursday, March 19: Open Day. Collaborative Project.

11 WEEK: Tuesday, March 24: CRITIQUE #3.
Reading Assignment #11: from How Do I Look?, Skin Head Sex Thing, Racial Difference and the Homoerotic Imaginary by Kobena Mercer and Discussion between Robert Garcia + Kobena Mercer, on reserve, due Tuesday, March 31.
Thursday, March 26: Bill from LUMP - visiting artist lecture + discussion

12 WEEK: Tuesday, March 31: Discuss Kobena Mercer + Garcia. Video Looking for Langston by Isaac Julien. Slides of Robert Mapplethorpe, Lyle Ashton Harris, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Clarissa Sligh, Pat Ward Williams, George Platt-Lynes...
Thursday, April 2: Open Day. Individual meetings.

13 WEEK: Tuesday, April 7: Visit Tammy Rae Carland's Exhibition at Lump Gallery in Raleigh with Tammy Rae Carland, Photographer/Artist
Thursday, April 9: Lecture on my work.

14 WEEK: Tuesday, April 14: Eli Sudbrack, visiting Brazilian Photographer/Artist lecture on Queer Brazilian Art
Thursday, April 16: Eli Sudbrack, visiting artist lecture on his work + discussion.

15 WEEK: Tuesday, April 21: Eli Sudbrack - collaborative project.
Thursday, April 23: Eli Sudbrack - collaborative project.

16 WEEK: Tuesday, April 28: FINAL PROJECTS DUE for critique.
Thursday, April 30: FINAL PROJECTS DUE for critique. LAST DAY OF CLASS.

Suggested Reading List:
THE LESBIAN BODY, Monique Wittig
SKIN, BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA, TRASH, Dorothy Allison
TILTING THE TOWER, edited by Linda Garber
NEW WORLD BORDER, Guillermo Gomez-Pena
BODY GUARDS, edited by Julia Epstein + Kristina Straub
POP OUT, edited by Doyle, Flatley, and Munoz
HOW DO I LOOK, edited by Bad Object-Choices
QUEER LOOKS, edited by Gever, Greyson, and Parmar
WAYS OF SEEING, John Berger
THE MAKING OF THE MODERN BODY, edited by Gallagher + Laqueur
THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, Michel Foucault
THE FEMALE MALADY, SEXUAL ANARCHY, Elaine Showalter
DORA: AN ANALYSIS OF A CASE OF HYSTERIA, Freud
IN DORAS CASE: FREUD-HYSTERIA-FEMINISM, edited by Bernheimer + Kahane
THIS SEX WHICH IS NOT ONE, Luce Irigaray
THE NEWLY BORN WOMAN, Helene Cixous
ART ON MY MIND, TEACHING TO TRANSGRESS, BLACK LOOKS, bell hooks
THE SADEIAN WOMAN + THE IDEOLOGY OF PORNOGRAPHY, Angela Carter
WHAT A WOMAN CAN DO WITH A CAMERA, CULTURAL SNIPING/THE ART
OF TRANSGRESSION, PUTTING MYSELF IN THE PICTURE, Jo Spence
BLASTED ALLEGORIES, OUT THERE, New Museum + MIT Press
ENGLISH IS BROKEN HERE, Coco Fusco
SISTERS, SEXPERTS, QUEERS, Arlene Stein
POLICING DESIRE, Simon Watney
THINKING THROUGH THE BODY, Jane Gallop
THE POLITICS OF REALITY, Marilyn Frye
GENDER TROUBLE, Judith Butler
THE PRACTICE OF LOVE, Teresa De Lauretis
STONE BUTCH BLUES, Leslie Feinberg
SHE, Minnie Bruce Pratt
THE TONGUE SNATCHERS, Claudine Herrmann
ODD GIRLS AND TWILIGHT LOVERS, Lillian Faderman

Look at Art In America, Art Forum, Art Papers, Parkett, Art/Text,
Aperture, and After Image regularly in the Sloan Art Library.