Anarchic sexual desires of plain unmarried schoolteachers
Curated by Chris McCormack
10 July - 10 August
Charlotte Prodger, Rosa von Praunheim, Sofia Hultén, Terence McCormack, Irene Revell presents HOMOCULT, Joyce Wieland
Publication, with new writing by
Bruce Boone, Lukas Duwenhögger, Robert Glück, Vanalyne Green, Rob Halpern, Elizabeth Hatmaker, Emma Hedditch, Jaki Irvine, Colter Jacobsen, Kevin Killian, Chris Kraus, Andy Lacey, Isla Leaver-Yap, Douglas A Martin, Josephine Pryde, Lis Rhodes, Jimmy Robert, Sarah Schulman and Joe Westmoreland. Edited by Chris McCormack
The subject for this exhibition and new publication is taken from Bruce Boone’s short text My Walk with Bob, a document of a casual yet revelatory walk through San Francisco by two friends, Boone and Robert Glück (Bob), in the late 1970s. The book was formative in defining New Narrative writing in San Francisco, which strives for the wandering, porous observational stance and lyrical detachment of the flâneur. It is also wedded to a queer aesthetic of dissident erotic and emotional possibilities. Bringing together intergenerational conversations between writers, artists and filmmakers, Anarchic sexual desires of plain unmarried schoolteachers continues Boone’s walk by embracing the unacknowledged, often contradictory currencies, that determine friendships and their legacies.
The title, a line taken from an Elizabeth Hardwick novel, touches on this contradictory and unregulated space of friendship – hinting at the space where the daily machinations in established lineages and pedagogical systems may be felt or overturned. The exhibition includes new work by Charlotte Prodger, who maps matrilineal markings in the wild; Terence McCormack whose studied, listless photographs of ground, mark the slow inaction of watching as erotic duration; Joyce Wieland, who rhythmically splices outtakes of teenage girls at a training school; Sofia Hultén’s video of a recurring moment of eating in the studio; rarely seen photographs from 1979 of Rosa von Praunheim made by students during a film lesson in California, and Irene Revell who presents HOMOCULT – a UK queer protest group from the late 1980s.
On the occasion of this exhibition is a new publication of commissioned and out-of-print writing, that includes invited artists who have openly responded to Boone's story and New Narrative writing approaches, and those who principally defined or continue New Narrative practices. As Robert Glück comments in My Walk with Bob’s afterword, reprinted in 2006, ‘Bruce declines to make a distinction between life on or off the page, between author and friend, between friend Bob and character Bob. He achieves this by combining essay and gossip – an essay speaks directly to us about the world we share, and gossip conveys the local reports of a community. Somehow together they direct the writing outward into a real time/space as opposed to the mirror world of fiction.’ Many of the works echo outwards from this contradictory space of narrative embodiment of experience and historical awareness. Bringing together a series of collected friendships, both on the walls of the gallery and in print, the show aims to set some of these prescient echoes back into conversation with each other.
Chris McCormack is a writer, editor and curator. He is assistant editor at Art Monthly, commissioning editor of the book series On&By (Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press), and an advisory board member of PEER, London. He also writes short fiction, recently included in Transactions of Desire, published by HOME, Manchester.Anarchic sexual desires of plain unmarried schoolteachers ed Chris McCormack, Selected Press, 2015, 140pp, colour and b&w illus, £12.99, 978 0 9933302 0 9.