"See that boy: looking at boys and men through art and theory" : queer theory and practice deployed as a deconstructive and strategic method for art historical enquiry

Kennedy, Alexander (2003) "See that boy: looking at boys and men through art and theory" : queer theory and practice deployed as a deconstructive and strategic method for art historical enquiry. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis continually encircles desirable objects and theories of desire in art history and queer theory, in order to understand and locate this procedure within art historical interpretation. This thesis works in the theoretical space between queer theory and the discipline of art history, using the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg tactically, to demonstrate that iconology falters here, as does any easy reliance on categories of sex, gender and sexuality to interpret their work. From the early 1990’s many art historians working in gay and lesbian studies attempted to employ deconstructive vocabularies in order to continue iconological investigations into the work of ‘late modernist’ art – including artists such as Johns and Rauschenberg – for very clear and laudable political reasons. I argue that this project mainly relied on essentialist and reductive assumptions concerning the sexed and gendered subject in order to explore the suppression of abnormal sexualities in relation to an artist’s work. I question that project here in the art historical texts I cite, and temper that analysis with deconstructive/queer theories of subjectivity. In this text I ask many questions that are central to my role as a queer art historian, questions that, in the ‘post modern moment’ of realisation revel in what Butler calls the “valorisation of unrealisability”. I do not look for a foundational justification for my project, which would be counter to my thesis, which argues that the a posteriori creates the a priori of ontology. I only hope to difference arguments that create reductive, totalising (as well as heterosexist and misogynistic) views of the art objects and the projects of art history, arguments that make the methodologies of art history into an inert mathematics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2003
Depositing User: Ms Mary Anne Meyering
Unique ID: glathesis:2003-5386
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2014 14:54
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2014 08:44
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5386

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item