What do LGBT people do when they’re not having sex?
The exhibition features some 70 works drawn mostly from the Leslie-Lohman Museum collection and range widely in subject matter, medium, and style, cover the period from early 20th century to the present, and offer a suggestive panorama of LGBTQ lives in the United States that–until now–has been neglected by museums, galleries, and historians.
The theme is timely in a decade that has seen the unprecedented mushrooming of same-sex marriage, child-rearing, and domesticity increase in acceptance both legally and socially. The thrust of queer politics has shifted from asserting our right to be different and erotic toward demanding the right to do what everyone else does. “Domestic front,” is a military metaphor that stresses the essential contribution that daily living must continue even in wartime, as with the soldiers during war on the “battle front.” Living queer lives has long been an active battle front in America’s ongoing culture wars. Now, the queer fight has shifted from our right to be different toward the right to be “normal” and unremarkable. Queer genre imagery is a weapon in our battle to secure what we might call the radicality of the ordinary.
On the Domestic Front will contribute to a long-running socio-political debate within the LGBTQ world: are we, apart from our sexuality, “just like everyone else,” or alternatively, do we have a distinct sensibility or style (or many of them)? Homemaking is an act of everyday social performance, a way of realizing and expressing a sense of self and a sense of belonging. Home life, in practice, can often be a source of pain, yet the idea of home always promises more—love, friendship, comfort, pleasure, and the possibility of reinventing them all. The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections: home, work, play, and fantasy.
Curated by James M. Saslow
Through 25th October