Interview with new QCA co-director, Andy Campbell

Current Position:

Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at USC-Roski School of Art and Design


B.A. Oberlin College (Art History / Gender and Women's Studies / Theater)

M.A., Ph.D..: University of Texas at Austin (Art History)

Book I’m reading now:

Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times, Ann Laura Stoler (Duke UP, 2016). I'm only in the introduction, and even though Stoler's book is not located around the visual, I am already excited about what it might bring to bear (by extension) to visual practices that engage legacies of colonialism and imperialism.  

Book that inspired me in grad school:

Parker Tyler, Screening the Sexes (1972) (it became the basis for my master's thesis, and I've always wanted to return to Tyler... the time has not yet been right, but hopefully soon... more below). 

Favorite Artist: 

I'm going to dodge this question, as there are too many to list. I'm polymorphously perverse in my love for contemporary practices of all kinds. 

Artist I’d most like to meet: 

Alive: Howardena Pindell, Harmony Hammond, Rei Naito

Dead: Beverly Buchanan, Martin Wong, Sarah Charlesworth, Greer Lankton, Bob Opel

Best advice received?

Don't parentalize institutions.

Working habits:

Iced coffee in the morning. Music while writing. Walks and baths. 

Unexpected art experience:

Seeing Rei Naito's Matrix on the island of Teshima in Japan's Seto Inland Sea. I could have spent days in that installation, the urge to return is growing stronger by the month. 

Past research/show curated: 

Past articles and published works touch on a variety of topics, mostly contained to contemporary artistic practice, for example, the public-facing sculpture of Beverly Buchanan and philosophies of black negativity, or the articulation of Wu Tsang's Full Body Quotation in relationship to notions of realness. I have also curated shows concerned with queerness and the visuality of identities, the politics of emotional care, and most recently, a mid-career survey of the work of Dean Sameshima. 

Current research:

Currently I am preparing a book-length manuscript concerning contemporary artists and their relationship to material from leather archives. Other projects include: a book chapter on a 1940 exhibition at MoMA entitled Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art which examines the curatorial principles of the exhibition, and an article on the site-specific work of Sherin Guirguis (who I am now happy to call my colleague at USC). I am also looking at future projects regarding the curatorial work of Jermayne MacAgy, as well as the film criticism of Parker Tyler, most specifically the fact that Tyler served as the inspiration for the character of Myra Breckinridge from the novel of the same name by Gore Vidal, and the ill-received movie that came after. This latter project considers one of the first (and still problematic for MANY reasons) representations of a trans character on the page and on screen.   

Queerest Art Experience:

This past year in Los Angeles, I saw Sheree Rose and Martin O'Brien perform/live Philosophy in the Bedroom. It was essentially a 24-hour performance wherein viewers would watch Rose and O'Brien's activities via closed-circuit monitors in a run-down hotel room in LA's Chinatown. In the segment I witnessed--my viewing companion was the artist Paul Donald--Rose taught an apprentice how to pierce using O'Brien's body as the testing ground. It was soulfully tender and empowering, and a chance to see a legendary figure such as Rose pass on knowledge to another generation of performers and practitioners. Of course the fact that the activity was kinky (O'Brien was also mummified in saran wrap) would qualify it as "queer," but I also found myself reflecting on the centrality of alternative familial forms of intergenerational contact that are often found (although by no means only specific to) queer communities. It was this latter aspect that I still find touching beyond what my words can, at the present time, convey. 

3 things on your playlist.

D.R.A.M - Cute

Delta 5 - Mind Your Own Business

Kero Kero Bonito - Flamingo (Julien Mier Remix)

Bonus song: 

Robyn and La Bagatelle Magique - Tell You (Today)

Did I mention that I co-founded and DJed a monthly queer dance party in Houston a couple years ago called Dykon Fagatron. Seems germane to the my new role at QCA!


To download past editions of the QCA newsletter, please visit our newsletter archive.