Making Revolutionary Love: Radical Sex and Cooptation in the Films of Bruce LaBruce

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Abstract

In April and May of 2015 New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) hosted a retrospective of film works by Canadian art-pornographer Bruce LaBruce. The retrospective celebrated 25 years of radical, experimental punk filmmaking and opened with a screening of LaBruce’s most recent feature film Gerontophilia (2013). Media commentators at the time attributed his enduring career to his early and defiant glorification in the 1990s of “gayness in the face of a looming AIDS crisis” and his ongoing commitment to “anti-establishment (and) anti-assimilationist” politics. They proclaimed him to be “iconic”, “transgression personified”, and in one instance, the “crowned king of the marginals”. Such appraisals are apt given the decision by MoMA – a global leader in the arbitration of cultural value – to hold the retrospective in the first place. Perhaps in acknowledgment of this fait accompli, some of the journalists reporting on the show choose to focus on the implications such canonisation might have on the future of his “transgressive” brand of cinema; as the author of an article for Slate magazine wondered, what does it mean “When a Radical Gets a Retrospective?”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSenses of Cinema
Issue number80
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

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