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Dragging Away: Queer Abstraction in Contemporary Art

Dragging Away: Queer Abstraction in Contemporary Art

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By Lex Morgan Lancaster

In Dragging Away Lex Morgan Lancaster traces the formal and material innovations of contemporary queer and feminist artists, showing how they use abstraction as a queering tactic for social and political ends. Through a process Lancaster theorizes as a drag—dragging past aesthetics into the present and reworking them while pulling their work away from direct representation—these artists reimagine midcentury forms of abstraction and expose the violence of the tendency to reduce abstract form to a bodily sign or biographical symbolism. Lancaster outlines how the geometric enamel objects, grid paintings, vibrant color, and expansive installations of artists ranging from Ulrike Müller, Nancy Brooks Brody, and Lorna Simpson to Linda Besemer, Sheila Pepe, and Shinique Smith offer direct challenges to representational and categorical legibility. In so doing, Lancaster demonstrates that abstraction is not apolitical, neutral, or universal; it is a form of social praxis that actively contributes to queer, feminist, critical race, trans, and crip politics.

  • Duke University Press, 2022
  • Softcover, 208 pages
  • 9 x 6 inches 

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