Archives for posts with tag: pop-up museum

The pop-up museum consisted of only a handful of displays, but I felt each one was powerful in its own way.  A pop-up museum is a great way to get people hooked in to come and browse exhibits. People love the excitement and the short timeline associated with these museums. I thought it was interesting that a lot of the items were donated from the Kinsey Institute right down the street.

My favorite piece was by Sarah Jenny Bleviss and Michelle Temple, the “In Memoriam” patchwork quilt. Sex work is a very real phenomena occurring globally as well as in our country. People that consent to a career in sex work are often punished. And people that are coerced into sex work are often ignored. The quilt shows that sex work can be seen in multiple age ranges and is not strictly limited to any race or ethnicity. The missing names show that in some places, it didn’t seem worth it to the officials to find out who the people were whose lives were taken.

I like that art can be used to make a statement that could potentially change our world. Any path to getting more people to pay attention to important issues like sexual slavery and abuse are critical. It is pieces like this that are so powerful and can speak to people who have never considered sex work as a problem in our society. It forces people to have conversations that may be uncomfortable and eliminates the ignorance in communities. I think it is important to protect lives and speak up for those who are not capable of speaking for themselves. Many of the people represented in the quilt likely had no way of escaping their situation. It is unfair that someone could make a person do things against their will, but it is more unfair that people with the resources to make a change are ignorant to the world of sex work or not educated enough about the topic to make a difference.

– Parisa Mansoori

the artist has some lovely pieces you can check out on her blog if you liked her installation at the museum:

Sarah Jenny Blog











I would have to agree with my fellow poster that the lesbian pulp covers were absolutely amazing! Personally, I’ve never seen a lesbian pulp cover before, so it totally blew my mind.  I obviously had to do a little digging around and find the back story to The Lesbian Herstory Archive and these covers. On the website, Joan Nestle writes:

The act of taking one of these books off the drugstore rack and paying for it at the counter was a frightening and difficult move for most women. This was especially true during the atmosphere of the McCarthy trials…Although tame by today’s standards…these volumes were so threatening then that women hid them, burnt them, and threw them out.

Today if I wanted to go find the latest lesbian fiction I could just take a trip to Barnes and Noble, or better yet Boxcar books. There could still be some fear of homophobia, violence, or simply disclosing something held secret. Today, we live in an age where all it takes is a click and I could purchase literally anything I desire, with my student amazon prime account of course, and have it arrive my house virtually undetected by anyone. However, back in the 1930’s women had to go to these very public places, like drugstores and pharmacy’s, to purchase these novels and fear persecution or possible violence.

Interestingly, while I was looking at the novels at the pop-up museum and online I noticed the language used in the titles of the books as well as the cover art. Many of them contained words such as “odd”, “strange”, “evil”, or other language used to signify these novels as “deviant”.

Also, many of the novels took place in locations such as prisons, or barracks. This is interesting because these areas are traditionally viewed as places were “deviant” activity takes place.

Many novels had an  illustration or photograph of two women in very steamy or sexy positions on the cover.

While these novels are amazing, and not all of them project the lesbian lifestyle as “deviant”, its important to remember that these are historical pieces and while they may have been the “survival guides” for a generation of young lesbian women it’s also important to pay attention to the language and the images used to sell these novels.

By Kristy Wilson

Hey friends!

So, the queer pop-up museum was super fun. My favorite exhibit was the display of lesbian pulp covers. You guys. I fucking love old lesbian pulp covers. Back when I had a Tumblr (RIP baldgirl/booboomeow), that was one of my main things (that and weird cat-related stuff like the image below, which is AWESOME, right?? Ohmg it’s so good).

So, I just wanted to include a few favorite covers of mine that were regrettably missing from the queer museum’s display. Feast your eyes!!!!!!!!!


Here I should probably refer to the one lesbian pulp book I’ve actually read, Odd Girl Out.

Um, I really really liked it. Great summer reading.

In it, Laura and Beth are sorority sisters who fall in LOVE (gasp!) among such similarly shocking drama as the DIVORCE of Laura’s parents (a shameful secret she must keep hidden at all costs!) and the PROMISCUITY of their friend Emma, who is outed as having gone ALL THE WAY with her boyfriend even though they’re NOT MARRIED. Really though, as a little baby queer reading Odd Girl Out in 2008 or whenever, I couldn’t even imagine what it must have been like to read it as a queer during the 1950’s when it was published (specifically, 1957). I mean, I can’t even imagine feeling like I had to throw away a paperback or even BURN it instead of just sticking it on my bookshelf next to tons of other readily available queer literature.

I’m not saying the world is perfectly queer-friendly currently. But reading an old lesbian pulp novel is a powerful reminder of the much-changed circumstances we live in now as compared to the early days of queer pulp, and of the contributions of all the queers who came before us and made it possible for us to not only be reading queer pulp but taking Queer Theory courses in college and seeing little baby pop-up museums that remind us that we have a history, long-suffering but also PULPY. Mmm.

-Blair Dietrick