7 Artists on the Resilience of Depicting Queer Intimacy in Public

Fear and anxiety to be expected after flurry of tornados

The flurry of “unpredictable and uncontrollable” tornados along the coast north of Wellington “have all the classic ingredients for producing anxiety”, a mental health expert says.

Image credit: KEVIN STENT/STUFF
The damage done by tornados goes beyond the physical damage.

During the past month, the lower North Island has experienced four tornados – an extreme weather event more closely associated with the United States’ Great Plains.

While severe weather events, natural disasters, and climate change in general are known to cause anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the fact Kiwis are unaccustomed to tornados adds another layer…READ ON

7 Artists on the Resilience of Depicting Queer Intimacy in Public

In the early 1990s, when waves of change in identity politics swept through the art world, dozens of billboards featuring an unmade bed sprouted up across New York. Though the black-and-white image of an anonymous couple’s love nest may sound demure, the two dented pillows and a freshly folded blanket pierced passersby’s attention. The photo exuded unabashed intimacy, in public, and at a scale exclusively reserved for consumerist promotions.

“The same body who is engaged politically is also driven by desire. I like the idea that we can share intimacy when moving through delicate issues.”

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (billboard of an empty bed) has since stood as a beacon of queer intimacy made public through art. The bed—shared by the Cuban American artist and his long-term lover Ross Laycock until the latter’s passing in 1991—is a silent monument of gay sex and bonding, imprinted with the bodies of two lovers who would eventually both pass due to AIDS-related illnesses. A massive but subtle expression of a kind of love largely deemed unnatural and deadly at the time, given the harsh anti-AIDS research politics of the 1980s, the work was a gentle artistic act of anarchy; it spoke to the gruesome struggles against the stigmatization of a pandemic and the marginalization of individuals for simply being…READ ON

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