Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton is primary a writer and curator, and editor for Frieze Magazine, however, he also has done film work. He talked about the production of drag and how it wasn’t gender, and stated that it isn’t a ‘he’ or ‘she’ but instead ‘something’. He read to us an interview he had which he quotes

”I believe that theoretical and critical work can be done in a pop context…As much as my work discusses the performative and theatricality, there is an obvious continuum between my stage appearance, my writing, and the projects I have curated, such as ‘The Empress Tea Rooms’ which was to show live art. My interest has always been in those figures that fall between the boundaries”

He brought up the artwork ‘Inches’ (2001) by Suzanne Oberbeck, which portrays copies  of ‘Inches’ pornographic magazines. He highlighted this idea of being suspicious in the idea of transgression. Transgression is spoken about alot in his talk, as he explores the idea of containment and how transgression and subversion are oppositional. He stated that it is structured by power and then goes on to discuss how this power can shape a person. He quotes Foucault who says ”Power loves nothing better than transgression”. Clinton is very interested in this idea of masculinity and how it can be perceived. He mentioned his piece ‘No Bra – Munchausen’ which emphasises the idea of how someone can mention something delusional, basically the meaning of the term ‘Munchausen’. In the piece, the artists are including themselves in the parody, allowing them to be apart of the audience.

Lastly, he explored the piece ‘Queer Stupidity’ which talks about queer theory and how it can be seen as unintelligible. Its about choosing to not identify oneself, and thinking through stupidity. This is evident in Andy Warhol’s work for example. He went onto highlight Deleuze and Sturtevant with the idea of stupidity and error. Error portraying a right or wrong, yet stupidity is more than that. It forms a cliche with a new form of difference. Deleuze pointed out that something can be stupid but right. Its the idea of repetition and the different forms of differentiation.

I found it interesting his mention of Deleuze and this new form of difference as last term I wrote an essay for Contemporary Art Theory about Deleuze and his theories on art and life. Particularly his theories on repetition, difference and becoming.


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