Apr 22–Aug 1, 2010

Queer Voice


Presenting video, installation, scripts, and audio works, this group exhibition foregrounds the voice as a material in contemporary art—in particular, a queered voice. Manipulated, mediated, or otherwise affected, the voice present in these works signals a disengagement with both gender norms and everyday conventions of communication. Casting light on what it means to “sound strange,” they insist that the viewer become a listener too, engaging with art works that are performative and narrative in nature. Throughout, the voice takes on a complex of guises and strategies: it can mask the speaker, tweak identity, obscure gender, and test points of view, as well as amplify and nullify emotions. It may create a disembodied or virtual presence, filling the listening space with avatars and mediums, the very presence of which signal a shift in the nature of reality itself. The queer voice opens up a queer space where a heightened sense of artifice and affect signal a new norm.

Conducted more as an investigation than a survey, this exhibition focuses on the work of eight artists across three generations. Starting in the 1960s, when new technology first popularized audio tape recording, and moving into the present, when the strangeness of hearing one’s own voice is increasingly part of internet and digital culture, it draws out a cross-generational conversation around queer identity and non-oppositional representations of gender, in which male and female attributes coexist in a subjective voice.
Laurie AndersonHarry DodgeSharon HayesStanya KahnJohn KellyKalup LinzyJack SmithRyan TrecartinAndy WarholQueer Voice 1

Queer Voice 1

Queer Voice 2

Queer Voice 2

Queer Voice 3

Queer Voice 3

Queer Voice 4

Queer Voice 4
Books & Editions

This is the first ICA catalogue produced in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s year-long seminar, “Writing Through Art and Literature: Transcribing the Wor(l)d,” a course collaboratively hosted by ICA and the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. To amplify the emphasis on listening, works are represented through transcriptions, prepared according to a set of established conventions by students at Penn. Artists’ scripts, when used, are also represented. The catalog features a compendium of texts, with over eighty contributors, written in response to the question: “Describe the Queer Voice.”

ISBN 9780884541202
Publication Date
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
We are grateful for funding for this exhibition from Toby Devan Lewis and the Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation for the exhibition and the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania for the publication. ICA gratefully acknowledges the generous support of donors to our campaign: Endowment gifts Dorothy A. Weber & Stephen R. Weber Endowment Fund; Nancy E. & Leonard M. Amoroso Exhibition Endowment Fund; Dorothy H. & Martin N. Bandier Endowment Fund; Cheri S. & Steven M. Friedman Endowment Fund; Pamela Sanders C78 Exhibition Endowment Fund established by The Jerry & Emily Spiegel Family Foundation, Inc.; Lurie Family Foundation; and Lawrence S. Reichlin. Term gifts Wendy Kirsh Fisher Fund; Bryan and Meredith Verona Fund. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; The Dietrich Foundation, Inc.; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art; friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania.