Alicia Eler contributes the latest critical take on The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics.
Alicia Eler contributes the latest critical take on The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics.
October 6

Coverage of Sullivan Gallleries’ The Great Refusal Continues

On October 1, Hyperallergic featured a review of The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics at SAIC’s Sullivan Galleries. Chicago critic Allcia Eler argues that the exhibition “focuses mostly on academically minded queer aesthetic,” noting the absence of “warm fuzzies”—themes of community, acceptance, and love—that sometimes typify popular expressions of the queer experience. Eler sees the exhibition as a success, citing “reflexive and reflective” themes that force viewers to “investigate how queerness intersects with race, gender, class, and sexuality, and consider how these intersections could form a new queer aesthetic.” Eler highlights four specific works as emblematic of this new aesthetic: Mary Coble’s The Sound of Fighting Cocks, Elijah Burger’s Enclosure for Undisclosed Ritual Action, David Nasca’s Unlimited Intimacy, and Aiden Simon’s My Little Pony. “Less concerned with body politics and obvious questions about sexuality,” Eler argues the ambiguity of these works conforms to the unstable, “ever-shifting definition of ‘queer.’”