Duly Noted #7

Queer modernist artists “drew on history not as an influential past, but as an active, vital force that was utterly alive in their own present moment.”

-Allan Johnson, Alan Hollinghurst and the Vitality of Influence


2 thoughts on “Duly Noted #7

  1. Sort of . . . except that it’s well-documented that modernism was a conscious rejection of the past. btw, are Jarman, Glass and Hollinghurst even modernist? This statement seems much more applicable to post-modernism.

    • Hi Mark! That’s a fair point–of course there’s nothing more modernist than Pound’s exhortation to “make it new!” But Johnson’s overall argument–which I now see wasn’t clear with how I presented the quote–is that queer modernist artists often had a more nuanced relationship with the past than some of their peers, and often deliberately situated their work within the “secretive” tradition of queer art. I’ve amended my post to better indicate this.

      Which is an impulse that itself directly links Jarman and Hollinghurst to modernism, even though they are, as you say post-modernists–both very intentionally see the past as an active force within the present (Is Glass a reference to Philip Glass? If so that’s a slightly diff situation.) There’s been a lot of interesting scholarly work done on this whole idea, which is often called “queer citation” and used as a way to directly connect (male) queer artists from Oscar Wilde to the present.

      Thanks for the comment, and the reminder to be more precise!

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