Free; reservations required
About the Event
This event is postponed until further notice.
For the 25th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Jonathan D. Katz, Visiting Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the keynote lecture, “A Viral Theory of Art: AIDS and the Aesthetics of Protest.”
Felix Gonzalez-Torres once compared his art to the workings of a virus, saying, “I want to be like a virus that belongs to the institution.” At the time, the HIV virus that was killing him provided a model for his relationship with the museum world. The defining characteristic of HIV is its ability to camouflage itself within the immune system—to appear to be part of the system it is intent on destroying. In this talk, Professor Katz traces the history of this viral approach to art, from the Pictures Generation through the upheavals of the AIDS epidemic and into contemporary activist art, exploring how and why protest so often resembles the very forms it works against.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. "Untitled", 1991. Photo by Sang Tae Kim. Courtesy of Samsung Museum of Art. © Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Courtesy of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation