Los Angeles: QUEER TERRITORIES at Sea and Space Explorations
Queer Territories, a smart group show curated by Nicholas Grider at Sea and Space Explorations, presents a body of work by gay artists who are exploring the idea of the ‘queer landscape’. The exhibition posits that the queer landscape isn’t necessarily a physical space and even offers evidence that landscape can even be represented through the body. Of the artists in the exhibit - Kaucyila Brooke, Michael Buitrón, Eric Lindley, Joanne Mitchell, Lee Perillo, Matthew Siegle and Grider himself – there are a few standout works in the show.
It is always a pleasure to see work from Kaucyila Brooke’s on-going project The Boy Mecahnic. In her project, she photographs sites of lesbian bars that have closed and are on the brink of being permanently lost from our collective consciousness. Here, she gives us The Elbo Room (formerly Amelias), from The Boy Mechanic/San Francisco and The Lexington, from The Boy Mechanic/San Francisco, both San Francisco bars that have gone (or are going) by the way [Editor's note: The boy mechanic looks at current and past locations of lesbian bars. In other words the significance of the The Elbo Room is that it used to be Amelias and there is no 'formerly' in the title The Lexington Club]. It is worth seeing the exhibition for her work alone. As an established artist, it is good to see her influence on the younger generation of gay artists presented in this show.
Michael Buitrón’s contribution to the show consists of three mixed media photographic works – Untitled (Deterritorialized), Untitled (Body without Organs) and Untitled (Immanence) - which superimpose the philosophical buzzwords with allusions to the body about which the words pertain. As mostly academic work, they manage to be infused with a level of poetics that prevent them from being simply didactic.
Similarly, Joanne Mitchell has worked with text and archival material to show us the historical influence of the book Our Bodies, Our Selves in her installation In Amerika They Call Us Dykes — Revisiting the Lesbian Chapter (1970 – 2005). A fascinating series of photographs of the classic book’s spine from chronological editions show how the knowledge of our bodies has expanded over time. Mitchell’s investigations of the revisions of the book clearly show how the map is not the territory.
Grider has put together a fine group of artists in an exhibit that is well worth a visit. QUEER TERRITORIES continues through Sunday, May 2nd at Sea and Space Explorations, 4755 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042. For more information, visit www.seaandspace.org or call (323) 982-0854.
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