As a video artist I have spent the last few years developing a fair track record of screenings and exhibitions. Of course I understand in a competitive art world rejection can be part of that world. A certain festival rejected me today and unlike so many rejections that can be so generic this time I was offered advice: "My advice would be to hit all the gay/lesbian themed festivals around the country (if you haven't already done so)." I do however find this advice sadly phobic but realize it's symptomatic of a world where certain identities are ghettoized into particular forms and events. For instance I have artist friends who can only seem to screen/exhibit during black history month because of the color of their skin. In my work I have always pushed to explore not only a queer identity but also explore, like many non-queer artists might, an unconventional visuality that deconstructs conventional media forms. Often I find audiences unable to look beyond politics of difference to see that. From this kind of advice I can only conclude that any festival not containing gay/lesbian/black/etc. in its title is inevitably white and heterosexual. In this new millennium I find that truly sad but will always push towards a world where I exist beyond a queer artistic ghetto and whoever you fuck and whatever the color of your skin everybody has equal access, and access twelve months of the year.
I would like to just add that my work has previously screened in this festival and comments I make are not necessarily about the curatorial decisions but the advice I was given. I just fear the connection between the former and the later.
At this moment, like the title of this discussion, I am questioning: am I a queer artist or an artist who is queer? Today the distance between the two seems so vast.
Art Makers: is art's liberalism allusion or illusion?