Flamboyant Abundance: Performing Queer Maximalism, 1960 – 1990


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


This dissertation theorizes “queer maximalism”: an aesthetic of unmitigated flamboyance and urgent exaggeration. Considering a diverse and interdisciplinary field of film, dance, theater, and cabaret performance primarily in New York City between 1960 and 1990, the project examines both the compositional strategies that constitute this performance aesthetic and its animating social and political functions—namely, enabling queer artists to both fashion intimate community and openly flout societal norms of gender, race, and sexuality. The central term, “queer maximalism,” consolidates a historically grounded constellation of performers, folks who have been described alternately as theatrical, Baroque, and Ridiculous, and positions them within an art historical frame.