Symposium, 'Sexual Difficulty in Late 20th-Century Art' Feb. 17

Penn State's minor in sexuality and gender studies is sponsoring a symposium in the Queer Visual Culture (QVC) series on the topic of “Sexual Difficulty in Late 20th-Century Art” from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 17, in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium at the Palmer Museum of Art on Penn State's University Park campus.

Three scholars will offer papers taking various perspectives on the relationship between difficulty and sexuality in modern art. There are images that are difficult to see, works that are hard to understand, issues that are difficult to discuss. As with many difficulties, the rewards of perseverance can be tremendous. All three of these scholars will demonstrate this potential.

Penn State Associate Professor of Art History Sarah Rich will discuss her work on and with mid-century abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly.

Jonathan Katz, chair of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo SUNY, will speak about the famously recondite art of Agnes Martin.

Professor Jennifer Doyle of the University of California Riverside and the author of the forthcoming book "Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art" will talk about the controversial art of David Wojnarowicz, whose work was recently removed from an exhibition co-curated by Jonathan Katz at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery at the request of the Speaker of the House.

Questions and discussion with the audience will follow each paper, and the symposium will conclude with a round-table discussion with all three speakers and the audience.

Sponsors for this event are the Institute for the Arts and Humanities through the Minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies, the LGBTQA Student Support Center funded by UPAC, Penn State's English Department and History of Art Department, and the Palmer Museum of Art.


For more information contact Christopher Reed, director of the University's minor in sexuality and gender studies, at

Last Updated January 09, 2015