Artwork details

Title
Jake from
Date
1991
Medium
Chromogenic print
Dimensions
43,2 x 55,9 cm
Artist
Catherine Opie

Collection of Gregory R. Miller and Michael Wiener, New York.

 

Being and Having, 1991
American art in the 1980s and 90s was marked by a focus on the politics of identity in which society’s construction of identity, sexuality and gender roles was explored. Catherine Opie’s work can be viewed in the light of these issues. Here part of the artist’s 1991 breakthrough series Being and Having can be seen. The work consisted of 13 photographs of Opie’s friends from the Los Angeles homosexual club community. Close-ups show a variety of women wearing moustaches, challenging our traditional view of femininity. The women are dressed in various styles of drag, and are playing with different stereotypical masculine identities such as gang member, biker, punk rocker, Casanova and family father. The work renders gender visible as a kind of costume and performance and can thus be interpreted as a manifestation of some of the era’s significant ideas related to gender theory. Here Opie is presenting the multiplicity of identities in the Southern California community.

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