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Feminist/Queer Aesthetic

ENGL 290.402

 In 1971 Linda Nochlin provocatively inquired, “Why have there been no great women artists?”  Her polemic ignited new waves of knowledge production about the world making possibilities of female, feminist and “outsider” art.  This seminar considers art at the margins and how it reimagines the visual to perform a rebuttal to male dominated art scenes, heteronormative aesthetics, and racist art markets.  Working at the intersection of queer studies, feminist art historical practice, theater, and cinema studies, we will interrogate the aesthetics of identity politics.  How does feminist art compel new directions in the way we conceive of labor, value, process, and circulation?  How do art practices contest and rewrite normative meanings of bodily and sexual difference?  Our class privileges art as a transformative mode of language and critique as we bridge visual culture and scholarship to create multiple lenses of analysis.  We will consider diverse genres, for example, body art, photography, film, process art, literature and epistolary forms.  We will examine how amateurism, deskilling, display, and objectification become strategic performances of feminist and queer identities and political refusal.  Configurations of community, such as appropriation, co-optation, “selling out,” and safe space will be interrogated.  Finally we will look at the “Occupy Museum” movement to think about the institutionalization of marginalized art forms and makers.

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