In Take Me With You, John Q returns to the Super 8mm films of Crawford Barton screened in the collective’s 2013 performative essay, The Campaign for Atlanta. Well-known for photo-documenting queer life in San Francisco’s Castro district through the 1970s and ‘80s, Barton is also a native of Resaca, a rural town in northwest Georgia. The films include a record of an early-70s road trip with a friend, presumably from rural Georgia to San Francisco, in an era of gay liberation. Driving from Atlanta to Barton’s hometown, we reversed the first leg of Barton’s migration and his film of it, in a sense passing each other on I-75. Footage from both cars (1970s and 2013) is intercut alongside other imagery from Barton’s films. The title refers to our desire to explore the potential of the past, as well as the past’s wishes for the future.
A vitrine in the center of the installation displays a parallel re-enactment: John Q’s redesign of an undated flier found in the Crawford Barton papers at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. This quotidian and seemingly trivial object becomes an important evidentiary document, in part since it evokes the sexual ethos of a pre-AIDS gay male culture in San Francisco, but also because it is one of the few traces left of social networks that operated underneath the historical radar, a communication as fleeting and ephemeral, perhaps, as the ride itself.
The publication of a complete catalog of works with essays by Jonathan D. Katz, Shawn Michelle Smith, and an interview by Julia Brock was released on the occasion of the opening the group show, Hearsay, at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University. The PDF can be downloaded here: John Q: Projects, 2009-2010.
Take Me With You was also part of the exhibit Embodied Place: Observations and Notations, which opened as part of the launch of the Interdisciplinary Arts MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, January-February 2015. It was also included in you+me at Crosstown Arts, Memphis in March 2015.
“Hearsay Casts Wide Net at Zuckerman Museum,”
Meredith Kooi, Burnaway, September 30, 2014
“Zuckerman Museum’s Hearsay, a contemporary spin on Southern storytelling, sets high bar,” Jerry Cullum, ArtsATL, September 13, 2014.