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Queering art history

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Queering art history explores artworks through a 'queer' lens. 'Queering' is a term that has recently been reclaimed by part of the LGBT community. It is used to describe the reinterpretation of a cultural work or a person’s life story in specific relation to sexual orientation or gender. Museum curators may, for example, seek to queer their collections in order to bring to light aspects of an object that have previously been hidden, perhaps owing to social taboos.

Queering can also refer to a strategic approach used by artists that involves deliberately repositioning or altering existing objects, so that the audience are invited to look at them from a different perspective. In 2008 at the Walker Art Gallery, for example, artist Wolfgang Tillmans staged an intervention in which he placed William Hamo Thornycroft's sculpture, 'The Mower', opposite a photograph of a young punk, so that the two men were gazing at each other. This shifted the emphasis from The Mower’s occupation as a farmhand and instead drew attention to his body as a subject of admiration. 



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