Last January, I went to NYC with The Wind (my now ex-girlfriend) and LaLa, one of my best friends. While The Wind slept in, LaLa and I went to the Guggenheim. The sleepyhead missed out on one of the most stunning exhibits I’ve ever seen: Catherine Opie: American Photographer. Recently, I went through the book I got from this show and was inspired, yet again, by her work. Even now, I cannot put into words the overwhelming sense of belonging her images give me. There, in front of me, at the Gugenheim, a well-respected bourgeois museum, was an exhibit of my world. A world of queers and fags and dykes and kinksters where we all are beautiful pieces of art to be hung on the wall and adored, not the outcasts society usually ignores. These are just a few of the images that took my breath away:
Most importantly, Opie forced me to reevaluate my stereotypes of motherhood and femininity. As a queer with fluid ideas of sexuality, I was caught off guard by my harsh reaction to her breast feeding her child in the following image. I was shocked seeing her, such a strong masculine butch woman, taking on a feminine mother role. This image has done more to break down my sexual stereotypes than any other experience I’ve had in my life.
I am forever grateful for the Guggenheim for having her work while I was there. So grateful that I bought her book, several magnets, a postcard, and a baseball hat that says “Dyke” in Old English writing like the tattoo above, and “Gugenheim” on the back. I like to think wearing it makes me an artsy dyke.