In this video report, Canadian Art associate editor David Balzer visits “Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Assembled by associate curator of photography Sophie Hackett as part of the AGO’s World Pride 2014 programming, the exhibition runs to September 7. To watch, click on the Video icon above.
Balzer interprets Hackett’s phrase “queer positions” as a statement on how queer people have and continue to construct their identities through a relationship with images. As the character Sutherland states in Andrew Holleran’s classic gay novel Dancer from the Dance, “never forget that all these people are primarily visual people.” In appropriating existing iconographies and gestures and essentially reinventing them, the subjects and works in “Fan the Flames” suggest queer identity comes to be through a complex and often gleeful curation of the visual.
“Fan the Flames” includes photographs and videos by Nan Goldin, Mark Morrisroe, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Robert Mapplethorpe, Will Munro, Catherine Opie and many other artists. It also showcases archival, sometimes anonymous photographs from the AGO’s permanent collection, and includes curatorial contributions from New York–based critic and curator Vince Aletti and Toronto-based critic and curator Jon Davies. For more details, click on the Video icon above.