David Deitcher

SCANNING THE BOOK DISPLAY in the reading room at the Whitney Biennial, I was dismayed to come upon the pale-green and pink slip case of Wayne Koestenbaum’s The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, which I happened to be enjoying at home. Its presence on the Whitney’s hit list felt unmistakably grotesque, if possibly revealing.

Conceived as an educational supplement to the Biennial, this “space of reading” includes a corner reserved for a user-friendly compilation of press clippings about the artists in the show, a centralized block of tables furnished with chairs and copies of the exhibition catalogue, and a display shelf that circumnavigates half the room displaying samples of books predominantly of critical theory and cultural studies published during the past two years. But why in the world The Queen’s Throat?

In cobbling together his meditation on opera and

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