Liz CollinsCast of Characters, installation view, Bureau of General Services: Queer Division,
New York, 2018.
Photo: courtesy of the artist

Queering the Family: Threading a Metaphor

Benoit Jodoin
Artist and designer Liz Collins created one of her latest site-specific installations, Cast of Characters (2018), in the only LGBTQ bookstore in New York, the Bureau of General Services: Queer Division. Replaying the grandeur of the salons, cast in a colourful, childlike, and somewhat kitsch mode, Collins brings together works by ninety-five queer artists of various generations and backgrounds. But it is the patterns of her textile art, created especially for the project, that make it all cohere. They serve as connectors, as if the works collectively formed a kind of family portrait of queer individuals and lifestyles that told of nonstandard existences and ways of life beyond traditional models.

Indeed, Collins conceived her installation as “the Family of Queers laid bare.”1 1 - Liz Collins, “Cast of Characters, An Immersive Queer Portrait Exhibition,” Kickstarter, accessible online. Use of the word “family” stands out: laden with meaning, it acts upon the work as it does upon the social organization that it usually designates. With this word, the patterns in Collins’s work should be understood both literally and figuratively. The medium is also a political gesture in which materials, community groups, and marginalized sexualities cross, entwine, and knot together in a celebration of different ways of being together.

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Pages intérieures Esse 107 Famille
This article also appears in the issue 107 - Family

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