When “Queer” Art Becomes Commonplace


Ariel Goldberg, The Estrangement Principle (image courtesy Nightboat Books)

Reading The Estrangement Principle feels like walking alongside author Ariel Goldberg as they attend art openings and performances, mull over volumes at bookstores and the classroom, ask questions to poets, writers, and theorists at readings and panel discussions, and flirt at dance parties. Each of these events was tagged “queer” by organizers, participants, and publishers. Goldberg, a poet and photographer, began “collecting the phrase ‘queer art’ in all its sweaty megaphone pronouncements” in 2010. In 2012, this collection inspired an essay, self-published as a pamphlet, which Goldberg distributed at events like the aforementioned. In it, Goldberg forewarned of the overuse of the word “queer” and the dangers of doing so.

2012 was the year I personally stopped using the word queer as a…


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