The Classical Nude and the Making of Queer History

July 29, 2014 to September 7, 2014
ONE Gallery, West Hollywood
626 North Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Find location, hours, and parking information about the ONE Gallery here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014
6:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday, June 28, 2014, 6-9pm at the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum

Monday, June 30, 2014
6:30pm - 9:30pm

Monday, June 30, 2014 at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers and the ONE Gallery, 6:30-9:30pm
More info here.

Organized by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and curated by scholar Jonathan David Katz, The Classical Nude and the Making of Queer History investigates how the visual iconography of Greco-Roman culture has acted as a recurring touchstone in the development of same-sex representation. Within the canon of western art history, images of the classical past have acted as a sensitive barometer for the shifting constructions of what we today call LGBT or queer culture. The classical past is queer culture’s central origin myth, and tracing how this tradition has been utilized by queer artists over time offers far more information about the cultural context that appropriates the classical than it does about that past itself.

Examining the classical nude across centuries of artistic production, this exhibition considers four major periods: Antiquity, the Renaissance, the nineteenth century, and the modern/contemporary period. Drawn almost exclusively from the collections of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the objects are diverse in medium and format. While all periods are represented, the majority of the works illustrate how artists in recent history have utilized classical iconography and themes to explore same-sex desire. It is in the recent past, as artists reimagined a classical legacy that had not accounted for diverse gender and racial perspectives, that we find queer culture’s relationship to the classical tradition at both its most complex and dynamic.

This presentation at the ONE Gallery is a condensed preview of a show to open at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in October 2014. Containing over ninety-five objects, the exhibition in New York will include works by Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, Jacopo Pontormo, Andrea Mantegna, F. Holland Day, Romaine Brooks, Claude Cahun, Herbert List, Jess, Paul Cadmus, and Pierre et Gilles, in addition to the works presented here, and will be accompanied by a scholarly exhibition catalogue.

The Classical Nude and the Making of Queer History is organized by Jonathan David Katz and is presented in collaboration with the Leslie-Lohman Museum for Gay and Lesbian Art. Support in part provided by the John Burton Harter Charitable Trust.


The Last Bastion: A Conversation on Feminist and Queer Museum Politics with Amelia Jones and Jonathan D. Katz
Monday, June 30, 2014

Conversation, 6:30-8pm
West Hollywood City Council Chambers
625 North San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Reception at the ONE Gallery and tour of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, 8-9:30pm
ONE Archives Gallery & Museum
626 North Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

A discussion presented by the California LGBT Arts Alliance with scholars Amelia Jones and Jonathan D. Katz examining how museums continue to ignore and under-represent women and LGBTQ artists. More information here.



Jonathan David Katz PhD is the director of the Visual Studies doctoral program at the State University of New York in Buffalo. He was co-curator of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution. Katz’s work explores the intersection of art history and queer history, which he considers one of the busiest, yet least studied, intersections in American culture. Dr. Katz is currently co-curating ART/AIDS/AMERICA which will open at the Tacoma Art Museum in 2016.


About the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is the first dedicated LGBTQ art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve LGBTQ art, and foster the artists who create it the Leslie-Lohman Museum embraces the rich creative history of the LGBTQ art community by informing, inspiring, entertaining, and challenging all who enter its doors.


Image: (Background) Del LaGrace Volcano, Detail of The Three Graces, Jasper, Suzie and Gill, London, 1992. Digital C-print, 30 x 23.5 inches. Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York