glenn ligon a feast of scraps 1994 1998
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Glenn Ligon , A Feast of Scraps , 1994-1998

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We are taught that, if we feel we really must have a record of the shameful same-sex portions of our lives, then we should do so by having two albums, dual collections, one for blood relations and one for our same gender loving brothers and sisters. And they should not be allowed to intersect. Our orientation is meant to be isolated, separate from and alien to the lives we live with our ‘real’ families. Far too often, however, within this constellation of the ‘real,’ black gays and lesbians wonder if we will even be in the viewfinder when the family portrait is taken.



Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore, Untitled (Cahun in Mirror), ca. 1929 (detail) Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore, Untitled (Moore in Mirror), ca. 1929


The photographer’s shadow that regularly intrudes on the space of the photograph, the double exposures and mirror imaging, may be viewed as both uncanny and as intimations of an unseen collaboration, the “other me.”

tirza true latimer


Our two heads (hair intermingling inextricably) inclined over a photograph. Portrait of one or of the other, our two narcissisms drowning together here, it was the impossible realized in a magic mirror. Exchange, superimposition, the fusion of desires. The unity of the image achieved through the close intimacy of two bodies.


kirsten mccrea gertrude stein from hot topic 2006 ongoing pablo picasso gertrude stein 1905 1906
Kirsten McCrea, Gertrude Stein, from Hot Topic, 2006 – ongoingPablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, 1905-1906
portrait of natalie clifford barney and romaine brooks romaine brooks self portrait 1923
Portrait of Natalie Clifford Barney and Romaine BrooksRomaine Brooks, Self Portrait, 1923

A place where lesbian assignations and appointments with academics could coexist in a kind of cheerful, cross-pollinating cognitive dissonance.


portrait of roger fry by vanessa bell 1912 portrait of vanessa bell by roger fry date unknown
Portrait of Roger Fry by Vanessa Bell, 1912Portrait of Vanessa Bell by Roger Fry (date unknown)

Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel No. 1: During World War I there was a great migration north by southern African Americans, 1940-1941


At the beginning of the twentieth century, a homosexual subculture, uniquely Afro-American in substance, began to take shape in New York’s Harlem. Throughout the so-called Harlem Renaissance period, roughly 1920 to 1935, black lesbians and gay men were meeting each other [on] street corners, socializing in cabarets and rent parties, and worshiping in church on Sundays, creating a language, a social structure, and a complex network of institutions.