Specialist in the arts of the Cold War-era kicks off
Watkins’ 2013-14 Visiting Artists Series
Curator, art historian and activist Jonathan D. Katz, a pioneering academic who has made scholarly contributions to queer studies the focus of his professional career, will launch the 2013-14 Watkins Visiting Artists Series with a lecture on Thursday, October 3, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Katz’s remarks, “Hiding in Plain Sight: A Short History of Queer American Art,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater.
The event is free and the public is invited.
*A Nashville Scene ‘Don’t Miss’ arts event*
Renowned for his writings on postwar American art and queer art history, Katz curated the much-discussed 2010-11 exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. He is also a co-founder of Queer Nation in San Francisco, founder of the Harvey Milk Institute, and former director of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Gay and Lesbian Studies at Yale University. His writings have appeared in Art in America, Art & Text, Art History, Art Journal, and numerous other publications. He is co-author with Moira Roth of Difference/Indifference: Musings on Duchamp and Cage.
Katz is currently an associate professor and director of the Ph.D. program in Visual Studies at University of Buffalo. He has previously taught at Smith College, Stony Brook University, University of Amsterdam, and Yale University. At the City College of San Francisco, during the 1990s, he was the first full-time, tenured faculty member in gay and lesbian studies in the United States.
“For more than twenty years now, Jonathan Katz has been a crucial voice in challenging mainstream art history’s baleful neglect of sexuality and its role in the production and reception of art,” said Watkins assistant professor of art history Tom Williams. “We are immensely fortunate to have him bring this perspective to Watkins.”
Katz’s scholarly work addresses why the American avant-garde in the Cold War era came to be dominated and defined by queer artists who remained silent about their sexuality in what was perhaps the single most homophobic decade in this nation’s history. His research and writing has focused on composer John Cage and painters Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, although he also has written about poet Frank O’Hara, French theorist and radical feminist Monique Wittig, artists Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and others. Currently, he is co-curating “AIDS/Art/America,” a major 2014 international touring exhibition offering the first examination of the ways AIDS shifted post-modernist premises in the art world.
The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual yearlong program that welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. The guest artists, whose work crosses many disciplinary boundaries, give public presentations, sharing their expertise and perspectives on their careers and providing insight into issues facing contemporary artists and designers. Updates to programming and future series guests will be posted to the Watkins website: Watkins.edu/VisitingArtistsSeries.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.
Key series participants from Watkins are Gallery Committee members Dan Brawner, professor and department chair of graphic design; Caroline Davis, director of external relations and assistant director of development; Mary Beth Harding, director of community education; Brady Haston, assistant professor of fine art and studio facilities manager; Morgan Higby-Flowers, assistant professor of fine art; Robin Paris, assistant professor and department chair of photography; Terry Thacker, professor of fine art; Tom Williams (committee chair), assistant professor of art history, and student representatives Holly Carden (Graphic Design) and Weng Tze Yang (Fine Art).