What’s love got to do with it? Queer-feminist desires in researching and writing art histories

James Bell, Northumbria University
Aleksandra Gajowy, Newcastle University

Desire and sexuality have been widely discussed in art history in a variety of contexts: from the sexualising male gaze, exoticisation and fetishisation of non-whiteness, to explorations of the male nude in coded homoerotic argot. Looking into queer archives, feminist and queer art practices and histories pay particular attention to how desire may forge kinship and communities ‘across time and space’, and how desiring and affective modes of research and intellectual inquiry can become driving forces for uncovering silenced and overlooked narratives. Fantasy and turned-on imagination infused with tenderness and care may be considered effective modes of approaching the research subject and the responsibility for telling stories from the archive. This desiring approach grants the subject agency beyond the status of an object to be looked at and enables an affective, attentive relationship between researcher and the research subject.

This session will explore affective and entangled approaches to research in artistic practice and art history. We have invited papers that consider the desiring, turned on approaches to art history from any time and place. We ask, what gets you off (in art)? Or, more specifically, what drives us in selecting a research subject? How does desire shape our relationships with living subjects? How do desiring approaches translate onto art writing? What might the ethics of such queer-feminist approaches be? Moreover, what are the political efficacies in such approaches?


Close Encounters: Experiences of self in the Leonor Fini archives
Andrea Kollnitz (Stockholm University)

Debris Unplugged: Queering homoeroticism in Trinidad and Tobago
Amar Wahab (York University)

Affect and the Abject: Trash(y) desires in queer artistic practice
Daniel Fountain (Loughborough University)

Re-articulating Embodied Subjectivity/Maria Lassnig and Carol Rama
Ileana Arnaoutou (University College London)




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