Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity

Author(s): José Esteban Muñoz


The LGBT agenda for too long has been dominated by pragmatic issues like same-sex marriage and gays in the military. It has been stifled by this myopic focus on the present, which is short-sighted and assimilationist.

Cruising Utopia seeks to break the present stagnancy by cruising ahead. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, Jos Esteban Mu oz recalls the queer past for guidance in presaging its future. He considers the work of seminal artists and writers such as Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones, Frank O'Hara, Ray Johnson, Fred Herko, Samuel Delany, and Elizabeth Bishop, alongside contemporary performance and visual artists like Dynasty Handbag, My Barbarian, Luke Dowd, Tony Just, and Kevin McCarty in order to decipher the anticipatory illumination of art and its uncanny ability to open windows to the future.

In a startling repudiation of what the LGBT movement has held dear, Mu oz contends that queerness is instead a futurity bound phenomenon, a "not yet here" that critically engages pragmatic presentism. Part manifesto, part love-letter to the past and the future, Cruising Utopia argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination.


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Argues that the here and now are not enough and issues an urgent call for the revivification of the queer political imagination

"Brilliant, extraordinary, and necessary, Munoz's critical refusal of queer pragmatism, his commitment to the utopian force of the radical attempt - the radical aesthetic, erotic, and philosophical experiment - is indispensable in an historical moment characterized by political surrender and intellectual timidity passing itself off as boldness." Fred Moten, author of In the Break "Munoz takes Ernst Bloch as his Virgil as he descends into the dark woods of futurity looking for signposts along the way that will guide him to a place of hope, belonging, queerness and quirkiness. Refusing to simply sign on to the 'anti-relational', anti-future brand of queer theory espoused by Edelman, Bersani and others, Munoz insists that for some queers, particularly for queers of color, hope is something one cannot afford to lose and for them giving up on futurity is not an option."- Judith Halberstam, author of In a Queer Time and Place "Munoz draws on a dynamic roster of seminal artists to illustrate his vision of a utopian queer future... Queer theorists will find the book's provocative thesis stimulating." Publisher's Weekly, 28th Sept 2009

Acknowledgments vii; Introduction: Feeling Utopia 1; 1. Queerness as Horizon: Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism 25; 2. Ghosts of Public Sex 45; 3. The Future is in the Present: Sexual Avant-Gardes and the Performance of Utopia 66; 4. Gesture, Ephemera, and Queer Feeling: Approaching Kevin Aviance 89; 5. Cruising the Toilet: LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Radical Black Traditions and Queer Futurity 114; 6. Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative 133; 7. Utopia's Seating Chart: Ray Johnson, Jill Johnston, and Queer Intermedia as System 153; 8. Just Like Heaven: Queer Utopian Art and the Aesthetic Dimension 174; 9. A Jete Out the Window: Fred Herko's Incandescent Illumination 194; 10. After Jack: Queer Failure, Queer Virtuosity 220; Conclusion: "Take Ecstasy with Me" 239; Selected Bibliography 246; Notes 259; Index 000; About the Author 287

General Fields

  • : 9780814757284
  • : New York University Press
  • : New York University Press
  • : November 2009
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : José Esteban Muñoz
  • : Paperback
  • : 234