Queer identity has frequently faced deliberate erasure from cultural narratives, museums, and historical records. This historical erasure is all the more distressing considering the transformative role that LGBTQ+ artists have played throughout its history. This double standard is evident in how museums often provide in depth examinations of the personal lives and muses of heterosexual artists, while historically dismissing discussions about the impact of an artist’s queerness in their work as ‘reductive’ or ‘irrelevant.’
Bi erasure and the marginalization of queerness perpetuates harmful stereotypes and denies individuals their rightful recognition and representation. It hinders progress and trivializes key supporting information about artists and historical figures that is otherwise celebrated and embraced for heterosexuals.
For example, the intimate relationship between Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns was excluded from museums for half a century. After briefly being highlighted in an exhibit in 2010, in 2017 MoMA referred to them as “friends in dialogue with each other.” MoMA chose to highlight the offspring of Rauschenberg’s child from a much shorter marriage with a woman. It is challenging enough to document and preserve queer history and art without anthropologists and historians purposefully diminishing relationships out of concern for controversy and backlash. This perpetuates a culture that systematically hinders visibility and representation for queer artists. The absence can perpetuate stereotypes and limit the understanding of LGBTQ+ experiences and contributions.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Erin Kuhn is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is a celebration of duality that explores magic, mythology, intersectional feminism and queer identity.
She is Reiki II certified, and uses art as a modality for healing as well. Her art practice concerns mercurial layers of consciousness and focuses on compassion and oneness. Her research into cosmology and anthropology fuels her current body of work using silhouettes and queer bodies in paper cut landscapes.
Erin Kuhn earned her BFA from MICA and has been exhibiting in galleries and museums throughout the north east USA. Her studio is based in New Jersey where she focuses on sharing her experimentation and techniques through community engagement.
© Erin Kuhn