It can be difficult to decide whether to consider a certain historical artifact a part of queer art or not. One of the more obvious ways to do it is to look for queer imaging specifically. Even though non-heterosexual attraction is often regarded as “unspoken love”, museum collections frequently contain explicit or implicit (including coded) narratives of “gender non-conformity and dissidence”.
Another way to queer art is through artists who existed outside the heteronormativity themselves. Such knowledge allows us to reassess their legacy and find queer elements in it. Some say that aesthetic and erotic preferences of an artist can be reconstructed on the basis of their work alone, independent from their biography. Radical interpretation of this method indicates that up until the 20th century almost all erotic depictions of male figures could be considered queer since they were created by male artists. This perspective is fascinating. At the same time, it points towards a lack of lesbian legacy, since before the 20th century women were almost completely excluded from artistic life. That’s why depictions of relationships between women, though presented in the catalog, are scant and can only be found towards the end.
Interpretation of a work of art by the society at large and queer people in particular is also important. Sometimes art diverts from the intention of its creator and takes on a completely new and unexpected meaning.