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Sex MuseumsThe Politics and Performance of Display$
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Jennifer Tyburczy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315102

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315386.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 December 2021

Queer Curatorship

Queer Curatorship

(p.175) Six Queer Curatorship
Sex Museums

Jennifer Tyburczy

University of Chicago Press

Queer scholarship has emphasized the construction, interpretation, and development of archives and has foregrounded the politics of historiography. This final chapter brings these fields together in order to suggest and model a curatorial tactic that grounds queer theory in a register of actual practice called “queer curatorship.” Queer curatorship is as an experimental display method that stages alternative spatial configurations for two distinct purposes: to expose how traditional museums socialize heteronormative relationships between objects and visitors; and to cope with ethically fraught objects of queer cultures—which in this chapter takes the form of leather whips as objects with historical ties to both gay leather/kink culture and antebellum slavery. Chapter six unpacks this method for displaying the history of sexuality and analyzes the histories of eroticism and discipline as they crisscross on the surfaces of two objects: an eight-minute, experimental film by Isaac Julien called The Attendant and a sword sheath and whip that was discovered at the Leather Archives & Museum and that is believed to have been used as an instrument of nonconsensual torture on an antebellum Louisiana plantation.

Keywords:   queer, curatorship, archive, historiography, whip, heteronormative, sadomasochism, The Attendant, Isaac Julien, Leather Archives & Museum

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