DEVIANT BODIES June 25 – August 21, 2004
Keith Gemerek

Keith Gemerek presents a retrospective of his photographic work.  A continuing body he describes in the following passage.

The closet doors have opened, in some places.  Standing just outside these closet doors, I have had the opportunity to photograph gay life in the studio, in the streets and in the woods.  These photos show a life that celebrates itself, mocks the constraints and illusions of heterosexist hegemony and fights for its rights to simply be. Here is the beauty and vision and heart of drag queens, transgender activists, shamanic healers, AIDS activists, Radical Faeries, butches and femmes, gay male nuns, and fierce gay youth in the multifaceted world of the gay community. Welcome to my world.  It is a place that is rich with history and culture in the making.

Gemerek will also be participating in a CEPA Art Works! Residency in conjunction with this exhibition. During his residency Gemerek will be working with Madeline Davis, queer historian and director of the Buffalo GLBT Archives to document through photographic portraiture and oral histories the more marginalized members of the LGBT community in Buffalo.  It will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of working class lesbians, trans-gendered people and queers of all colors and ages as dynamic cultural forces.


This exhibition of photographs is dedicated to the spirit and vision of two revolutionary gay thinkers: Harry Hay and Arthur Evans. Their unique contributions in the quest for gay liberation establish the scholarly foundation of our understanding of sexual minorities as people with age-old cultures and histories.

Harry Hay’s visions were induced in part by a Native American medicine man as a youth but also through his experience with labor union organizing in the 1940’s. He was one of the first to think of homosexuals as a distinct people subjected to discrimination by the heterosexist majority in America. To organize against this discrimination he formed the Mattachine Society in 1951, named after the Medieval European all-night revelers whose public performances delighted in mockery of the rich, powerful, high and holy. Harry was intrigued by the honored roles by non-Christian or non-Western cultures throughout history given to the people who lived between the sexes. In 1979 he and others put out a call for “Radical Faeries whose time has come” to meet in the desert of Arizona to “tear off the ugly green frog-skin of Hetero-male imitation in which we had wrapped ourselves in order to get through school with a full set of teeth to reveal the beautiful Faery Prince hidden beneath”. Harry’s mission was for third-genders to offer the world their innate tools of working through non-hierarchical consensus circles and “subject-subject consciousness” meaning basically “we recognize each other as ourselves”.

Arthur Evans, a Stonewall era activist and pivotal member of NYC’s Gay Activists Alliance is known for his fiery and confrontational Gay Power zaps at major media outlets and government offices that would perpetuate homophobic stereotypes and treatment. But his philosophy studies at Columbia University lead him to discovery of a hidden “gay” history throughout Europe which the Church successfully repressed since it first spread with the help of Rome’s conquests. In the mid 70’s he was giving slide presentations and lectures on pagan religions and the Church’s bloody repression, as well as the Church’s assimilation of the Nature Religions’ icons, sacred sites and holy days. He discovered that Witchcraft and Satanism were largely constructs of the Church used to repress women and gay men, healers who followed ancient agrarian traditions and Goddess religions. He also held the first Faery Circles in the Bay Area for the purpose of reclaiming the ancient rituals of ecstatic sexual or Dionysian worship of Nature. Arthur’s seminal book, “Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-culture” is out of print but is soon to be expanded and published as “Moon Lady Rising”. Gay culture has a history with markers in language and in archives of old public records. Thanks to Arthur’s continuing scholarship this history is coming to light.

Kieth Gemerek

Kieth Gemerek

Kieth Gemerek