Historically, "queer" was the slur used against those who were perceived to be or made to feel abnormal. Beginning in the 1980s, "queer" was reappropriated and embraced as a badge of honor. While queer draws its politics and affective force from the history of non-normative, gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, it is not equivalent to these categories, nor is it an identity. Rather, it offers a strategic undercutting of the stability of identity and of the dispensation of power that shadows the assignment of categories and taxonomies. Artists who identify their practices as queer today call forth utopian and dystopian alternatives to the ordinary, adopt outlaw stances, embrace criminality and opacity, and forge unprecedented kinships, relationships, loves, and communities.
Rather than a book of queer theory for artists, this is a book of artists' queer tactics and infectious concepts. By definition, there can be no singular "queer art." Here, in the first Documents of Contemporary Art anthology to be centered on artists' writings, numerous conversations about queer practice are brought together from diverse individual, social and cultural contexts. Together these texts describe and examine the ways in which artists have used the concept of queer as a site of political and institutional critique, as a framework to develop new families and histories, as a spur to action, and as a basis from which to declare inassimilable difference.
Artists and writers include Nayland Blake, Gregg Bordowitz, Leigh Bowery, AA Bronson, A. K. Burns, Giuseppe Campuzano, Tee Corinne, Barbara DeGenevieve, Dyke Action Machine!, Elmgreen & Dragset, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Simon Fujiwara, Malik Gaines, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gran Fury, Sunil Gupta, Hahn Thi Pham, Harmony Hammond, Sharon Hayes, Hudson, Roberto Jacoby, Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien, Mahmoud Khaled, Zoe Leonard, Lesbian Avengers, Catherine Lord, Ma Liuming, LTTR, Allyson Mitchell, Zanele Muholi, Carlos Motta, Ocana, Helio Oiticica, Catherine Opie, Ridykeulous (Nicole Eisenman & A.L. Steiner), Marlon Riggs, Emily Roysdon, Prem Sahib, Assoto Saint, Tejal Shah, Amy Sillman, Jack Smith, Wolfgang Tillmans, Toxic Titties, Danh Vo, David Wojnarowicz, Wu Tsang, Yan Xing, Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis, Akram Zaatari, Sergio Zevallos