Lips Touch: Lesbian Aesthetic Strategies and the Body Impolitic, 1990-1999


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art


This dissertation examines a critical moment in American history when the relations between “feminist” and “queer” art were actively being negotiated. In contrast to prevailing narratives that characterize lesbian-feminist art as either a brief and transitionary movement soon to be subsumed under the banner of queer aesthetics or a regressive and essentializing relic of Second Wave Feminism, this dissertation argues that lesbian-identified artists in the 1990s took radical and diverse approaches to identity, community, and representation (both visual and political). "Lips Touch" brings together the visual analysis of rarely considered works and rich oral histories of lesbian life at the end of the 20th century to construct the first substantive theory of lesbian aesthetic strategies in American art.