fag-o-sites

curated by Doug Ischar and John Paul Ricco

Artists: Shonagh Adelman, Stephen Andrews, Bastille, Sadie Benning, Christa Black, Robert Clarke, Pierre Dorion, Iran do Espirito Santo, Paul Evans, Jose Gabriel Fernandez and Martin Zogran, John Greyson, G. B. Jones, Deborah Kass, John Kramer, Clifford LeCuyer, Nina Levitt, Micah Lexier, Glenn Ligon, Jeffry Mitchell, Mark Niblock-Smith, Ria Pacquee, Mary Patten, Marco Paulo Rolla, Collier Schorr, Joe Smoke, Edgard de Souza, Margaret Stratton, Ann Torke, and Millie Wilson and Jackie Goldsby

Fag-o-sites is an exhibition curated by Doug Ischar and John Paul Ricco that brings together works produced by thirty contemporary cultural workers (painters, film and video makers, architects, photographers, etc.).

The hyphenated and neologistic title of this exhibition, in its resonance with the term phagocyte, references a lexicon of AIDS discourse, micropolitics of desire, and the consumption or destruction of discrete units. It thereby begins to cite counter-strategies of queer cultural practice, and the multiplicity of spaces, geographies, and architectures that they fabricate, disrupt, re-invent, and appropriate as fag-o-sites. These discrete units may be understood as spaces created by strictly identity-based and often ghettoizing practices. Fag-o-sites, on the other hand, are non-ghettoizing, de-domesticating, survival fabrications of queer everyday life, through which spaces are temporarily claimed and dislocated for purposes of queer resistance and future survival.

Through deterritorializing logics, fag-o-sites are fabricated and dispersed across a queer geopolitics and thereby constitute some of the critical sites and escape-routes of queer movement today.

Fag-o-sites are materializations of temporary, mobile, and collective social-sexual relations articulated across contested cultural terrains by radical queers today. Out of this queer movement one might begin to imagine the possibilities of an insurgent queer geopolitics. Through deterritorializing logics, fag-o-sites are fabricated and dispersed across a queer geopolitics and thereby constitute some of the critical sites and escape-routes of queer movement today. The materialization of these transitory events and practices generate a multiplicity of effects, and combine to form various networks of relations in which social-cultural differences are neither assimilated into a singular unity, nor equalized across a liberal plurality, nor caught in the trap of a binary, either/or logic. Queer geopolitics operate via a spatial logic of "where" instead of a ontologic of "what," and in this way provoke the need for a queer spatial theory and practice that is based upon locally situated, material conditions that at the same time remain open and tactically mobile.   

The queer cultural workers, who were assembled here, work on or across purifying definitions, exclusionary resolutions, absolute certainties, and various forms of cultural assimilation, reform, and rehabilitation. As active producers of queer movement, these artists and architects dislocate the borders distinguishing public/private, grief/ecstasy, safety/risk, violence and visual modes of evidence, abjection and subversion, fantasy and reality, childhood-adulthood, work and play, machine or body, and cultural supremacy versus political supremacy. In the wake of these critical traversals come levels of ambivalence, contradiction, and conflict; anti-normative positions and oblique or anamorphic points of view; and sites that are difficult to map or circumscribe in the name of control. As non-apologetic, often in-your-face, hyper-sexual spatial practices and formations, fag-o-sites neither operate under imperatives of heteronormativity, nor obey bourgeois sensibilities of privacy, interiority, and propriety, nor support the urge for "positive images” and the accompanying hopes for tolerance of queer cultural practices as they mobilize for survival rather than acceptance.

The works assembled for this exhibition demonstrate the many ways in which these practices, spaces, and bodies may be visualized, without being forced to comply to any single theme. It is neither a historical survey nor a retrospective, nor is it a showcase of only the most familiar names and works of queer cultural production. Rather, this exhibition provokes a rethinking of many popular assumptions, as it points toward a number of possible future paths that may trace unexpected yet crucial modes for queer social-cultural production.

Through the forms of queer cultural production dispersed across a single gallery space, this exhibition visualizes some of the un-mappable maps, and architectures-without-definite-plans, which constitute the possibilities of a highly sexualized, radically dispersed, and thoroughly contested queer geopolitics: a geopolitics mobilized through micropolitics of desire and materialized as fag-o-sites.

Related Materials:

PDF of Press Release

PDF of Statement

Related Events:

Panel discussion with artists and curators