The Gay Wax Museum is an idea Ive been dreaming on for years. The concept is very simple: Let’s create a museum to honor queer history. In particular, lets see how queer artists will represent and creatively engage these subjects. I wanted to honor the moments of anecdote and legacy that have been systematically erased over so many years from the canon of history, both straight and gay. Pay tribute to the many profound and often ephemeral moments that shape and define us as a culture.
A wax museum format compels me with its immediacy. The human scale and diorama setting places the viewer right there in the web of it. Non-linear history envelopes and implicates us! I love the camp possibilities afforded by such a theatrical medium, and I believe that queer artists might have a natural affinity for nostalgic craft—a blending of the dramatic with the anecdotal, memory dressed up in fabulous costumes.
This exhibit is in no way exhaustive. As curator, my hope is to facilitate new authorship, inspire examination of our past and possible futures, and to unearth buried treasure. These installations offer glimpses into an elusive fabled archive, but could never attempt to completely represent it.
History continues to show us that it is those marginalized by class, race, and gender whose stories are silenced most violently, insidiously. Without a doubt, this exhibit would benefit from more voices and perspectives, especially those of black, brown and trans artists. I hope future incarnations succeed in centering these voices where this one falls short.
I hope the work here proliferates more storytelling, and challenges viewers to consider what are the stories that represent us/shape us individually and collectively? How can we find inspiration in our legacy and project that onto our future possibilities?
This show was created in the ethos of Doing It Together! Building community through creative collaboration! It couldn’t have happened without the help and support of SO many people!!
To name a few:
All of the participating Gay Wax Museum Artists
OUTsider Fest Board and organizers especially Curran Nault and Annie Bush
Ambrose Austin and Cassidy Browning
Diana Welch, Bobby Johns, Beth Schindler Jo Assawamatiyanont, and Steve Shuck
Hazey Fairless, Bruce Wiest, and Elia Singer
Women and Their Work Gallery
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Awesome Foundation of Austin
Anne DeFrates Rodriguez, Tamara Hoover, Katy Koonce, Lexi Matza, Lukas Blakk, Patrick, Steve Lindenmuth, Jordan Abrams, Miss Katy Hall, Brick Shoemaker, MOM, Becca Cohen
Gramma, Tickles, Mariska, and Petunia (DogElf, too)
Kay Turner and Pilou Miller
Erica Nix and all of her dance crew
Jenny Larsen and Zac Crofford
Andy Campbell, Jana Birchum and Kate Messer
Erin Gentry and the folks at MASS Gallery
– Silky Shoemaker