Dallas Contemporary Shows How the Queer-Victorian Aesthetic of McDermott & McGough Was Ahead of its Time
Curator Alison Gingeras repositions the artist duo as early pioneers of identity politics.
The artist duo McDermott & McGough first garnered attention in New York City in the 1980s for their Victorian-themed lifestyles. The two artists and former partners David McDermott and Peter McGough dressed in top hats, lived by candlelight, and went so far as to convert a townhouse to its mid-19th century state. As such, the title of the pair’s first US museum show, at Dallas Contemporary—”I’ve Seen The Future, and I’m Not Going”—is an apt summary of their practice.
The exhibition, organized by adjunct curator Alison Gingeras, covers 40 years of artistic output, examining the work of the longtime collaborators who, for decades, have created what they call “experiments in time.”
The presentation in Dallas is a comprehensive study of their career—with a twist. Though the show addresses the duo’s entire practice—which spans photography, painting, sculpture, film, and installation environments—it is not formatted as a traditional retrospective. Instead, as Gingeras told artnet News, it is a re-positioning of McDermott and McGough’s work in terms of its relationship to identity politics.
“Until now, McDermott & McGough were not categorized as political artists; I hope this show makes the case for the radicality of their 40-year practice,” Gingeras said. “It felt urgent to recuperate this kind of reading in 2017 given the fragile nature of LGBTQ liberation struggles in our current political environment.”
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