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Roy Pérez

Roy Pérez is an assistant professor of English and American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University. His poems and essays appear in Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, the Best of Panic! poetry anthology, Bully Bloggers, and FENCE Magazine. His current book project, Proximity: Queer Configurations of Race, examines representations of interracial closeness and collaboration in Latina/o literature, art and performance.

"Abduction Near Hialeah and Other Startling Transports: Desire and Dissonance in the Martin Wong Papers"
When a collection of Martin Wong’s notebooks, photographs and personal effects was processed and unveiled at the Fales Library at NYU, critics and longtime friends of the late painter registered a kind of polite, if fascinated, astonishment at some of the sexually explicit content that surfaced. Freshly itemized and ripe for decoding, this new archival material from his time in New York City in the 1980s, including pictures of lovers and of lost erotic paintings, prompts a retrospective reframing of the ways in which Wong’s queerness animated or lingered at the edge of his more familiar body of work. In this paper I use Deborah R. Vargas’s theory of “dissonance” to ask how Wong’s newly discovered material interrupts the way we hear his painterly voice. I assemble video footage of interviews with Wong, ephemera from the Wong papers, and images of vanished erotic paintings to think about the aesthetic operations of Wong’s queer, brown structure of feeling through this new archival opening. 

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