‘Queer’ as a concept runs against all definitions, all fixed meaning, forever questioning, redeploying, twisting terms, texts and itself from conventional usage. Christoph Ribbat, Professor of American Studies at the Universität Paderborn in Germany, and author of Queer and Straight Photography, published in the journal ‘Amerikastudien’, 2001.
Queer shines a light on the NGV Collection to examine and reveal the queer stories works of art can tell. This exhibition of works from the NGV Collection spans historical eras and diverse media including painting, drawing, photography, decorative arts, fashion, video, sculpture, and design and explores queerness as an expression of sexuality and gender, a political movement, a sensibility, and as an attitude that defies fixed definition.
Rather than attempting to provide an encyclopedic history of queer art, the exhibition explores the NGV Collection from a queer perspective, presenting and interpreting queer concepts and stories. Many works in the exhibition are by artists who identify as queer; some are by artists who lived in times when such identification was not possible; and some works are not by queer artists but have a connection to queer histories. The exhibition highlights that queerness is intersectional, and that LGBTIQ2A+ rights are interwoven with other political and equality movements. Beyond exploring new layers of interpretation and reinvestigating conventional narratives, this exhibition also considers absences in the NGV Collection itself, by excavating queer history where it has been omitted or eclipsed, through oversight or intent.
Queer includes more than 300 artworks from antiquity to the present day, making the exhibition the most historically expansive thematic presentation of its kind ever presented by an Australian art institution.
Queer will be accompanied by a major publication, as well as a diverse range of programs and events.