Describing the role of the Lesbian Herstory Archive, art historian Flavia Rando recently said, “It’s a place where feelings coded as private can be shared in community.” That’s a great way to describe queer space generally, which is why FIT’s new Queer Culture Lecture Series is absolutely essential. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have often been marginalized, but in these talks and performances, queer identity Leslie-Lohman Museum moves front and center.
Rando spoke at “Queer Institutions: Collecting, Preserving, and Presenting,” the second event in the series, held November 16, which examined the way queer museums and archives treat art by LGBTQ artists. Nelson Santos, executive director of Visual AIDS, which presents and preserves art by people with AIDS and supports HIV-positive artists, described some of his organization’s projects. (They created the gesture of wearing a red ribbon to show support for people with AIDS.) Jim Saslow of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art described how that institution, founded before the Stonewall riots and the only museum of its kind, fought for recognition within the art world. One of the biggest challenges, he said, was “getting people to understand that the queer experience can be universal.”
Ron Amato, chair of FIT’s Photography Department, spearheaded plans for the series in collaboration with Leslie-Lohman, and the effort is supported by a grant from the college’s Diversity Council. Amato wrote the grant proposal with Tardis Johnson, associate dean for student academic support; Joe Massa, Photography Department coordinator; and Ames Beckerman, formerly of Residential Life. The first event, on September 19, was an illustrated talk about the show Art AIDS America at the Bronx Museum. Two events in spring ’17 will be announced on the website queerculturelectureseries.org. Video of all events will be posted on the site.
For more information, visit queerculturelectureseries.org.