After skewering the male dominance of gay bars, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings are scrutinising overlooked historical connections between feminism and the political right
For the past five years the artist duo Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings have been focused on gay bars. A couple as well as collaborators, they’ve created joyous one-night-only gay bars as performances, compiled a vast moving image archive of more than 100 such venues around the country and made films looking at how male sex clubs and men-only gay bars reflect a broader culture of male dominance. Themes of safety, belonging, visibility and power dynamics run through their work as part of an examination of issues around policing, austerity and gentrification in society at large. Oh, and they also make wonderfully sultry drawings featuring buff androgynous youths.
Now the London-based artists, who were co-winners of last year’s Jarman award for film, are turning their scrutiny to the feminist movement in Britain. “There’s a lefty rose-tinted glaze around the history of feminism,” says Quinlan when we meet at their Thames-side studio in London. “We wanted to use the same critical framework we’ve applied to male culture to look at women.” Their new show Disgrace at London’s Arcadia Missa gallery explores the often overlooked historical connections between British feminism and the political right through a series of etchings, a film, a fresco, two drawings and a book.