But, he says, "As I looked around me -- as a queer person, artist and curator -- I saw peers making work of incredible complexity and depth. Many of them were exploring queerness in their work, but they did so in infinitely different ways. Some of the work, in fact, is so different that even in their shared exploration of queerness, they don't go hand-in-hand."
That's when Soldi realized something. "To dilute work by queer artists to simply 'queer' disregards the multidimensionality of their practice and the conceptual framework of their work," he says. "For this reason, I chose to accept the challenge to present an exhibition of queer work so long as I was able to present it in a context that defines it as other than 'just queer.' "
On display at
As Soldi puts it, "Not only is an image a record of intimacy and journal of his travels with his partner, Seth, but also an affirmation of their commitment to one another over the span of over 15 years."
Works by the artist teams -- We Are the Youth (
We Are the Youth focuses on addressing the lack of visibility of LGBTQ young people by providing a space online (wearetheyouth.org) to share stories in an honest and respectful way through portraiture and storytelling. In this exhibit, several photographs of participants are arranged alongside a computer linked to a database of stories and anecdotes related to each that visitors are privy to read and explore further.
The work of #1 Must Have hangs opposite. An amalgam of diverse images, they re-frame the queer experience outside of the victim paradigm often seen in popular culture by presenting their subjects through contemporary vernacular, such as zines, tumblr sites, community exhibitions and queer dance parties.
The only video work in the exhibit,
Finally, the rear gallery reveals a more seedy side of this collective culture. Images like "Abandoned Porn Shop,
It's worth noting that his investigation, above all others, isn't related only to queer lifestyles. And as Soldi so elegantly puts it, the projects presented in this exhibit are not just "queer-specific."
"Over the years, I noticed that the only place to see queer art and photography was in queer-specific exhibitions, and that most times, the only thing that these works had in common was that they were made by queer artists," Soldi says. "So I asked myself, 'What approaches are queer artists using today, and how can we use this to trigger discourse around queerness in more meaningful ways?' "
"In 'Here and Now,' it was really important to me to present the work of a selection of queer artists in a very specific context and move away from a one-liner exhibition that just says, 'These artists are gay, and that's all there is to it,' " he says. "The artists in this exhibition are mapping emotional and geographical space through their photographs and video works in search for a bigger picture, for a narrative, for a sense of place and connectedness."
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