Steven Beckly

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Reunions, 2014

Inkjet print on newsprint, 16" x 12"

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In [Reunions], Steven Beckly claims and reclaims history through the appropriation of old photographs. […] His work makes self-evident the malleability of the past in the hands of the present, and does it in a way few historians dare to acknowledge. He plunders and speculates, mirrors and insinuates. It’s cheeky, but more than that, it offers up the prospect that we can not only reverse our erasure from history, but also make up new histories of our own, unconstrained by truth claims. And in this grab bag version of history—which is really the only history we have—to universalize queerness does something consequentially different from the usual universalization of straightness: it holds up the possibility, glimpsed fleetingly in these photographs, of a world without sexual categories, without policed boundaries and judgments of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Beckly offers up a vision of a queer future molded to the contours of our past; it’s not only ahead of us, it’s also behind us, and there is much comfort in realizing that we are now doing what we have already done.

—Jonathan D. Katz, excerpt from "Hush," Thresholds, issue 40, MIT Press, 2012

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