So a weird personal history is that as an art hack with no formal training I ended up with a show at Goma & as 1 of 2 first artists-in-residence at Trongate 103 (with Ajamu X, who is not a hack). Not to undersell myself, but mainly I fit a 'diversity' remit of disabled & queer.
10 years later, I just found out John Byrne & then-partner Tilda Swindon were among the 27 people who visited my 2009 Trongate open house. It never occurred to me that such ppl would stroll into a tiny room with my aunt & cousin, gf, friends & a few strangers. So I didn't notice.
This doesn't really mean anything. Except to underline how class means no one tells you Swinton & Byrne are at yr event, if you don't matter. How the GoMA reps could've introduced me & maybe changed things for me & my community -- but didn't bother. Cuz my role was to tick boxes.
PS Also Orlando was 1 of my favourite films (swoon, Sally Potter & Quentin Crisp especially) but who expects Orlando to eat your crisps (unintentional echo) & drink your corner shop plonk while chatting with yr poet friend. PPS f*ck autocorrect for misspelt 1st mention of Swinton
The more sinister side: it's no secret G*MA handled its 2009-10 LGBTQI+ exhibitions terribly. By banning them all for teens due to 1 Mapplethorpe already argued over in 1990; by censoring, warning-sign & moving queer art across town - due to the Mail & a few homophobic Christians
Also by not providing accessible workspace for, and infantalising, myself and the 8 other disabled and Deaf ppl they had hired me to find to work with (under a specific disabled tickbox remit). By leaving a disabled person in the goods lift for hours. By demanding my show be tame
When we complained, as queers & disabled ppl, we were gaslit & I was 'sanctioned'. Part of my punishment was social. I wasn't allowed to speak at my own opening, a promised meeting with Street Level never happened, I wasn't introduced to ppl. (They also didn't pay me for months.)
Arguably, they *never* had such plans for me (see above re me as hack, classism, ableism, cisheterocentrism, diversity quota). These institutions, as you can read from White Pube & others, have streamlined / professionalised how to leverage marginalised people for their brands.
We're brought in, for little money (and often much trauma), so they can appear to be less racist/classist/ableist/homophobic. Then we are ejected (whereas someone brought in more traditionally would not be). And they can go back to presenting work that matters to them. Again,
The open studio thing doesn't mean much, yet it's symbolic to me 10 years on. My visual arts 'career' has gone really nowhere in 10 yrs, compared to what could have happened if they'd opened doors for me & the disabled queer, bi, intersex & trans ppl / communities I worked with.
*I say it's no secret re 2009, but only among queers who were around. Ppl & newspapers were bullied not to cover it. But we have receipts. An over a year long complaint that went nowhere, an absurd (yet totally normal) headf*ck. [See Sara Ahmed's recent work for similar stories.]
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