Warhol’s Queerness and the End of Distinction

Jonathan D. Katz—founder of the Harvey Milk Institute and director of the visual culture studies doctoral program at the State University of New York at Buffalo—frames the Andy Warhol's pop art through the lens of queer studies.

While Andy Warhol’s queer art and his queer identity have long been recognized, paradoxically sexuality remains largely incidental to Warhol’s achievement, and utterly marginal to the general perception of his amoral, even unethical character.  Using the recently rediscovered–and very queer– unexpurgated text of a famous 1963 interview with Gene Swenson that was ruthlessly edited to remove all references to queerness, Jonathan Katz will argue the opposite, that Warhol’s work is best understood as something then quite fragile and new—a species of queer standpoint epistemology. In the process, Katz reframes some of Warhol’s most recognized work as informed by a coherent program to eliminate all forms of distinction, queer and otherwise.

Jonathan D. Katz directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, and is a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  He co-curated Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first queer art exhibition ever mounted at a major US museum, which opened at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and then traveled, winning the Best National Museum Exhibition award from the International Association of Art Critics and the best LGBT non-fiction book award from the American Library Association. His next major exhibition, entitled Art AIDS America, traveled to 5 museums across the US, also accompanied by a substantial new book. A pioneering figure in the intersection of art history and queer studies, Katz was the first full-time American academic to be tenured in the field and chaired the first department of Gay and Lesbian Studies in the US. At Yale University, Katz was founding director of the first queer studies program in the Ivy League. Katz is now completing two new books. An active, activist curator, he has 3 new major exhibitions in the next 2 years, including an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots opening in Chicago May 22nd, called About-Face: Stonewall, Revolt, and the New Queer Art.

February 25, 2019
5:30 PM
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