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Re: [BKARTS] A Queer/GLBTQI Theoretical Analysis of Artists' Books and Book Arts
First of all I would say that the comparison you are trying to draw (between book arts and the "queer" community) seems a bit problematic. I don't think you're comparing apples to apples here. When you speak of the marginalization of the queer community, you are talking about a very complex human behaviors with regards to sexuality. What is considered normal and abnormal in this arena is a complex debate that involves a host of other issues. It is a discourse that must consider nearly all factors, historical, social, biological, cultural, religious, etc., that influence an individual's sexual orientation. It is also a discourse that grapples with what is considered "acceptable" and why?
Book Arts cannot be thought of as marginalized in the same way that the queer community has been. For starters making books is simply one means of artistic expression. It is not so deeply intertwined with identity as sexual orientation. I would think it would be an insult to the queer community to try to place them on similar ground. The one is a learned art, skill, practice, action (whatever you want to call it); the other is something of far greater import and consequence in society. My intention is not to scorn Book Arts here, but I've never heard of anyone being disowned, publicly ridiculed, even killed for making books. Perhaps if the books were inflammatory in some way that would be one thing, but the mere action of making books has by no means created any waves in the world community and society at large. Book Arts may be snubbed by a few (or many) critics, but it's not as though anybody is going to picket so that artist's will stop
making books. The Art World doesn't care that much. To say "Book Arts are ignored by the Art World," may be a true statement. But there is a vast difference between an artistic expression (not an individual) being ignored or even criticized, and a group of people being accepted or not accepted, hated or loved (in the most conclusive and drastic sense) by society and the world based on behavior that is linked deeply to identity and life itself. It's like trying to draw a comparison between telemarketers and snoring. Yes, they can both get on
your nerves, but other than that, there's not much basis for
If you were to focus your efforts solely on artists who identified themselves as queer, and their specific activities in the Book Arts realm it would be one thing. Setting specific perimeters (like the aforementioned) is simply smart and a matter of interest. Perhaps, you'll find some artists out there in the GLBTQI community "defiantly" making books because it's less mainstream. But that is really more of an outward manifestation of a psychological and emotional reaction to being labeled as different by society.
Additionally, it seems that the intention to "apply queer theory to artist's books" is pretty vague at best. Would it not be more accurate to say that you want to study the artistic practice of queer artist's who focus primarily on the Book Arts?
Lastly, to define the mainstream as "mindless", especially with reference to sexual orientation seems a little short sighted, don't you think? Just because something is widely accepted and practiced by a majority, it does not necessarily make it "mindless". To make such an affirmation would be to infer that anything which is practiced by a majority is unintelligent.
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