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Art Critique Essay History Humanities Nonfiction Theory

Excessive Attachments: Twenty-First-Century Queer and Trans Video Art in the United States

By William J. Simmons, 2021

This chapter provides an overview of the queer video artists who are working in the United States in the twenty-first-century and presenting their work primarily in gallery and museum contexts, either in traditional shows or performance/time-based interventions. Their work is divided into purposefully capacious and fluid categories: reimagining a queer/trans world, restaging the medium, and re-articulating appropriation. Queer affect is considered alongside discourses of self-reflexivity and appropriation that are central to art-historical debates around modernism and postmodernism. Above all, the chapter argues that contemporary queer video art is untethered in its definition but nevertheless constellates around certain themes and bodies. Expanded definitions of queerness often negate the specific strategies taken on by queer and trans artists and privilege a nonspecific and disembodied queer abstraction. The chapter seeks to supplement those lacunae with new ways of theorizing media alongside new ways of theorizing queer representation. From the Oxford Companion to Queer Cinema (2021)

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