a portrait show capturing the many faces of queer beauty
‘Queer Babes,’ a new portrait show on view in San Francisco, is a love letter to individuals who ‘beautifully reimagine the limits of what’s possible.’
Anton Stuebner — the current artist in residence at Romer Young Gallery and the curator of its new photography show — says the exhibition's title, Queer Babes, was intended as a fun placeholder. The images on display, by artist Jordan Reznick, are intimate portraits of queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming people in San Francisco and the wider Bay Area, a region rich with queer history and identities. As their show began to take shape, Stuebner and Reznick realized that their temporary title captured precisely what the photographs celebrate: the feelings of pleasure, joy, and endless inspiration contained within a community whose members "continue to reimagine normative standards of beauty and desire," as Stuebner writes in a poignant curatorial statement.
"Queer Babes is a love story," that statement begins. "When Jordan and I first met to discuss the project, we didn't talk about the politics of representation or the complicated histories of portraiture, although these dialogues — and their critical concerns — were never far out of frame." Instead, the collaborators began by thinking about what a rich queer life means today, at a time when conversations about trans and non-binary issues are becoming more mainstream. "While we welcomed the possibility for greater dialogue around gender predicated by increased public consciousness, we also recognized that representations of trans people in the media still relied on troublingly conventional aesthetics," Stuebner writes. The exhibition honors those who break from existing gender binaries to, as Stuebner puts it, "beautifully reimagine the limits of what's possible."
'Queer Babes' is on view at Romer Young Gallery through August 27, when Reznick will be giving an artist's talk at 1pm.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Jordan Reznick, Eric, San Francisco, California, 2016.