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Hide/Seek: Seeing and Speaking Sexuality in the Museum

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Hide/Seek is a groundbreaking show, the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture, currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery. “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art—especially abstraction—were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment. The curators of the exhibition, Jonathan D. Katz and David C. Ward, will join us on Wednesday, December 15th at 7pm, in the South Court Auditorium of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, for a lively discussion of the exhibition, the power of sexual difference in American art, and the role of LGBT collections in the museum.

 

Jonathan D. Katz, a scholar of post-war art and culture from the vantage point of sexuality, is director of the Doctoral Program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, as well Honorary Research Faculty at the University of Manchester, UK and Guest Curator at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. An activist academic, Katz was the founding director of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University—the first queer studies program in the Ivy League—and founding chair of the very first Department of Lesbian and Gay Studies in the United States, at City College of San Francisco in 1990.   He co-founded the activist group Queer Nation, San Francisco and the San Francisco National Queer Arts Festival and founded the Queer Caucus of the College Art Association, the professional association of artists and art historians. His next book, for which he won a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation book grant, is entitled Art, Eros and the 60s. His next exhibition, sponsored by the Tacoma Museum of Art, is entitled Art/AIDS/America.

 

David C. Ward is a historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of Charles Wilson Peale: Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic and has published articles on a variety of topics in history and culture, and on such figures as Hart Crane, Marsden Hartley, Earnest Hemingway and Gerhard Richter. Ward is also a poet and critic who has been widely published in Anglo-American literary magazines.

 

The discussion will be moderated by Jason Baumann, who coordinates LGBT collections for the New York Public Library, in addition to his role as Coordinator of World Languages and Collection Assessment. He has his MLS from Queens College CUNY and MFA in poetry from City College. Mr. Baumann curated the Library's exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, 1969: The Year of Gay Liberation.

 

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