Work by Brice Peterson
- Brice Peterson, M.F.A. 2019
We adore those celebrities with whom we identify, and we find solace — belonging, even — in their images. During my own adolescence, at a time when queer representation in mainstream media through shows like Ellenand Will and Grace was just beginning, I found myself turning instead to the women of The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote and their transgressive alternative models of concepts like family and justice, respectively. In these formative years, I realized the liberating potential of identification with strangers on the screen, and syndication permitted a ritualistic access to celebrities I would never truly know. My expression of queerness thus came to be based in range of slippery phenomena related to fandom, consumption, and nostalgia. Yet, as dangerous cults of personality continue to proliferate in various public spheres, I struggle with my own attachment to celebrity culture. My practice — through research, writing, curating, and making — has been devoted to deconstructing this attachment, particularly within the context of representation at the dawn of the digital age. I am particularly interested in the unsettling complications that result from a belated search for belonging under late capitalism. By focusing on an era before queer representation was mainstream, my work highlights the friction between nostalgia and disillusionment, as adoration for yesterday's gay icons yields to mourning, and as acquisition — of their images, biographies, and merchandise — leads to liquidation.