Queering Queer Abstraction
Queering Queer Abstractionby Joseph Henry
On its surface, Redress (2015) by Lucas Michael refers to nothing specific. The sculpture consists of three neon bands shaped into an open rectangle with the lower line missing; the bands all emit a searing light red hue. Redress is meant to stand against a gallery wall where its luminescence grasps for the neutral tones of the white cube. Like its most immediate predecessor, the neon work of Dan Flavin, Redress seems to function as a formal exercise—a play between supporting architecture and imposed form, between saturated and neutral chromatic tones. But for those who viewed Michael’s piece at the exhibition FOUND: Queer Archaeology; Queer Abstraction, curated by Avram Finkelstein (of Gran Fury fame) at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art this past summer, its wall label illuminated a more immediate reference. The artist constructed Redressto follow the dimensions of a door at Commonwealth & Council, a gallery in Los Angeles. Moreover, the red light of the work recalls the red light of clubs, bars, and other nighttime dens. Redress creates a continuum of associations between geometric form and social life.