In perusing the winter 1990 issue of OUT/LOOK: National Lesbian & Gay Quarterly I was struck by how much has changed within the LGBTQ community over the past decades with regard to identity definitions and self-expression. For example several of the works in issue 7 express anxiety about ascribing to, and performing within narrowly defined sexual identities as exemplified by Jan Clausen’s “What Does it Mean When a Lesbian Falls in Love with a Man?” and Jan Brown’s “Sex Lies and Penetration: A Butch Fesses up,” while today LGBTQ culture is engaged in making space for non-binary genders and we understand sexuality and gender as uncoupled, often fluid and ultimately self-defined. Meanwhile outside of LGBTQ communities nationalism, patriotism, racism, homophobia and transphobia seem to be continually enmeshed as demonstrated by Jackie Goldsby’s writing reflecting on U.S. politics, and artist Gene Wesley Elder’s art work using the U.S. flag both of which underscore a great uneasiness around legislation and dominant cultural perceptions impacting LGBTQ lives which very much mirror present day politics.


2017, digital video, 6:38 (looped), performed to George Michael’s Freedom90 soundtrack


Ace Lehner is an interdisciplinary scholar and artist specializing in critical engagement with identity and representation; history, theory, and criticism of contemporary art; visual studies; photography theory and queer and trans theory. Lehner’s artistic practice often embraces collaboration and primarily utilizes photography and video to mine the complex relation between representations and the constitution of identities. Lehner has lectured and exhibited throughout North America, and has work held in several private collections. Lehner was a recipient of the Murphy and Cadogen Fellowship in the Fine Arts and the Sheffield Art League Scholarship. Lehner has taught and given lectures at various institutions including California College of the Arts, Oakland; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; University of California, Santa Cruz; Rochester Institute of Technology; Stony Brook Manhattan. Lehner is a member of the artist collaborative project ERNEST and is a gallery guide at Dia:Beacon, in Beacon, NY.

Lehner is currently a PhD candidate in visual studies in the history of art and visual culture department at University of California, Santa Cruz, and is based in the Hudson Valley area of New York. Lehner holds an MA/MFA in visual and critical studies/fine art from California College of the Arts and a BFA in studio art with a minor in social anthropology with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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Made possible in part by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Also supported through UCSC by the Arts Research Institute, Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence and Dickson Emeriti Professorship Award

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    Queer Nation kiss-in at the cable car turnaround.
    © Rick Gerharter
    San Francisco, 1991.