Issue

4.25 / From the Archives: Worse Than Queer

August 14 2013

Introduction

August 13, 2013. This issue’s title comes from the Bikini Kill song “Suck My Left One,” (1992) in which frontwoman Kathleen Hana exhorts her fellow sisters-in-arms to show the world that they’re “worse than queer.” I read the line as both a rallying cry for the radical possibilities and reminder of the high stakes of a life lived, to whatever degree, outside of dominant norms of gender and sexuality.

However, the stakes and possibilities of queer life have shifted enormously since “Suck My Left One” was first released. Certainly, after the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and the reinstatement of same sex marriage in California this past June, choosing to be worse than queer might seem quaint or cowardly or worse yet, ungrateful.

But as New York University professor Lisa Duggan cautioned in The Nation around the time of the Court’s decisions, “the history of civil rights struggles in the United States shows us that formal legal equality does not provide more resources, greater political power or better lives.”1 Practices of resistance and alternative forms of self-fashioning remain crucial survival tools for queers, regardless of whether or not they decide to put a ring on it. 

The artists, works, exhibits, and writing chosen for this issue are all “queer” in the sense of Nayland Blake’s gloss on the word in his interview with Art Practical contributor Renny Pritikin—insofar as they all come from places of “ambiguity and confusion and possibility.” In turn, they also generate these same qualities by raising their middle finger to propriety, staging non-utilitarian politics, commemorating the dead, cruising us, or pouring gasoline on the whole damn system. Enjoy. – Matt Sussman 

Notes:

1. Lisa Duggan, “What’s Next for the LGBT Movement,” The Nation, June 27, 2013. 

________

Art Practical has invited its regular writers to guest edit thematic issues of content from our archive this summer as we prepare for the launch of our new website in September. These issues highlight the breadth of subjects we've covered over the past four years and some of the notable interests that catalyze artistic practice in the Bay Area. And here's a sneak peek of what is coming up for Art Practical. 
 

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