Common Ground

Curatorial Activism/Queer Curating: Maura Reilly & Friends


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

A conversation on queer curatorial practices featuring legendary curators Juan Vicente Aliaga, Clare Barlow, Birgit Bosold, Dan Cameron, Amelia Jones, and Jonathan Katz in conversation with Maura Reilly. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from multidisciplinary artist and poet Mimi Tempestt.

In this talk

Arizona State University School of Art | Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts

Juan Vicente Aliaga

Photo of Juan Vicente Aliaga by Alberto Suárez
Photo by Alberto Suárez
University Reader in Modern and Contemporary Art Theory, Juan Vicente Aliaga is associated with the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. His research is centred around feminist, gender, and queer studies with special attention to cultural, artistic, and political representations of sexual diversity. His teaching has also focused on the key role played by micro-politics and the contribution of intercultural, postcolonial and decolonial studies. He is currently exploring three main research topics: Feminist genealogies in Spanish art from the 1960s onwards, Cultural, artistic and visual presence and agency of sexual diversity in the world, and Critical revision of modern art from a gender and sexual perspective. The first of these topics was addressed in the exhibition curated for MUSAC (León), Genealogías feministas en el arte español: 1960-2010 (2013); the second issue has been tackled in a book on the work of Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari, The Uneasy Subject (Charta, Milan, 2011), and also in an exhibition held at both MUSAC in 2011 and MUAC (Mexico City, 2012). He has also curated an exhibition in 2009 entitled Everywhere: Politics of Sexual Diversity in Art at CGAC, Santiago de Compostela. The third issue has involved curating an exhibition on the French photographer Claude Cahun held at the Jeu de Paume (Paris) and La Virreina, Centre de la Imatge (Barcelona) both in 2011, and at The Art Institute of Chicago in 2012. As an outcome of this project, a book was published in France (Claude Cahun, ed. Hazan, Paris, 2011). Recently in 2020, he has curated an exhibition at IVAM (Valencia Institute of Modern Art) entitled Moral Dis/Order: Art and Sexuality in Europe between the Wars.

Clare Barlow

Clare Barlow
Courtesy of Clare Barlow
Dr Clare Barlow is a London-based curator. Her most recent project is Being Human, a new permanent gallery curated for the Wellcome Collection, London, which opened September 2019 and was shortlisted for the Arts + Heritage awards for “Best Permanent Exhibition of the Year”. Previously, Clare was the sole curator for Queer British Art, 1861-1967 at Tate Britain in 2019, a major exhibition that marked the fiftieth anniversary of the partial decriminalization of sex between men in England and Wales. She co-wrote and edited the exhibition catalogue, Queer British Art, 1861-1967, now in its third edition. Clare has also worked on curatorial teams at Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, organizing shows and displays on a wide range of topics. She is now working as Curator of Exhibitions at the Science Museum in London, developing exhibitions for their major international touring program. Clare received her PhD from King’s College in London and her BA and MPhil at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral thesis, titled Eighteenth Century Women Writers in the Public Eye: Virtue, Patriotism and Publication, was completed in 2010. She has published articles on a wide range of subjects, including queer art, disability studies and curatorial practice. Her overarching research focus as a curator is how to enact ethical approaches to inclusion in the museum and how museums can better engage with themes of social justice.

Birgit Bosold

Photo of Birgit Bosold by René Fietzek
Photo by René Fietzek
Since 2006 Birgit Bosold has been a member of the board of the Schwules Museum in Berlin. In this function, she is responsible for funding and finances and was a key participant in the museum’s strategic reorientation. She was the project leader and co-curator of the major exhibition Homosexualität___en, which was initiated by the Schwules Museum and realized in cooperation with the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Together with Vera Hofmann, she directed the Jahr der Frau_en / Year of the Women*, as a part of which she curated, together with Carina Klugbauer, the survey exhibition Lesbian Visions. Most recently, she realized, once again with Carina Klugbauer, a traveling exhibition on queer history in Germany in cooperation with the Goethe Institut and the Federal Agency for Civic Education. In 2019 the exhibition toured North America. It can currently be seen in Hong Kong, Shanghai, São Paolo, Nancy, and is available as an online presentation: Bosold is also professionally active in private banking. After completing her doctorate in literature, she worked for many years at various renowned banks and is currently active as a freelance consultant in portfolio management for companies, foundations and private clients, and also as a lecturer and author of specialized literature.

Dan Cameron

Dan Cameron
Dan Cameron is a New York-based curator, art writer, and educator whose professional career began with his 1982 New Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition, Extended Sensibilities: Homosexual Presence in Contemporary Art, the first museum effort in the US to examine gay & lesbian identity in art. During his eleven years as Senior Curator at the New Museum (1995-2006), Cameron organized survey exhibitions of David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong, Marcel Odenbach, and Pierre et Gilles, among many others. While serving as artistic director of international biennials from Istanbul and Taipei to Newport Beach, CA and Cuenca, Ecuador, Dan is probably best-known as the founding director of Prospect New Orleans, organized to assist in the cultural rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina; and in 2016 he organized the exhibition When Jackie Met Ethyl on Jackie Curtis and Ethyl Eichelberger at Howl! Happening on NYCs Lower East Side.

Amelia Jones

Amelia Jones
Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Academics and Research in Roski School of Art & Design at the University of Southern California. Amelia is the curator of the critically acclaimed exhibition Sexual Politics: Judy Chicago’s ‘Dinner Party’ in Feminist Art History, at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, in 1996, and organized the exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery in Montréal in 2013. She also organized the event Trans-Montréal (Performance Studies International, 2015), including performances, while her performance event Live Artists Live took place at USC in 2016. The former event also resulted in a special issue of Performance Research edited by Amelia entitled “On Trans/Performance,” published in October 2016. Recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012) and the anthology Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories, co-edited with Erin Silver (2016). The catalogue Queer Communion: Ron Athey (2020), co-edited with Andy Campbell, which accompanies a retrospective of Athey’s work by the same name at Participant Inc. (New York) and ICA (Los Angeles), has just been listed among “Best Art Books 2020” in the New York Times. Her book entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance is published in 2021 by Routledge Press.

Jonathan Katz

Photo of Jonathan Katz by Douglas Levere
Photo by Douglas Levere
Jonathan D. Katz is perhaps the founding figure in queer art history, responsible for the very first queer scholarship on a number of artists beginning in the early 1990s. Recent projects include a study of the international influence of Herbert Marcuse’s writing on the visual arts from the 1950s to the 1970s, a new reading of the cultural wars in the era of AIDS and contemporary resonances of that conflict, a project envisioning supplanting the predominantly binary understanding of sexuality with a trans perspective, and new work on queer Latinx artists in periods of dictatorship. His 2010 exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery won the 2011 award for best national museum exhibition by AICA and its catalog was awarded the best non-fiction queer text by the American Library Association. His recent exhibition About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art, was the largest queer exhibition yet mounted, with 500 works, and was favorably reviewed on the front page art section of the New York Times. His exhibition Art, AIDS, America traveled to five museums across the country. Katz has been a central figure in the establishment of the field of queer studies in the US, as the chair of the first such department in the US at City College of San Francisco, the first tenured faculty in the field, the founder of the first such program in the Ivy League at Yale University, and the first doctoral program in queer Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo. He has also founded and chaired several major non-profit and queer activist organizations.

Maura Reilly

Maura Reilly
Photo by Rochelle S. Paris
Maura Reilly is a curator and arts writer who has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally with a specific focus on marginalized artists. She has written extensively on global contemporary art and curatorial practice, including, most recently Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2018), which was named a “Top 10 Best Art Book of 2018” by the New York Times. Her next book, The Ethical Museum, is forthcoming from Thames & Hudson in 2022, followed by a textbook on Feminist Art, also with Thames & Hudson. Reilly is the Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she developed and launched the first exhibition and public programming space in the USA devoted entirely to feminist art. While there, she organized several landmark exhibitions, including the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, the blockbuster Global Feminisms (co-curated with Linda Nochlin), Ghada Amer: Love Had No End, Burning Down the House, among others. Other notable exhibitions include Miriam Schapiro: An American Visionary, Richard Bell: Uz v. Them, Nayland Blake: Behavior, Carolee Schneemann: Painting, What It Became, La Mirada Iracunda (The Furious Gaze), Neo-Queer, among others. She is a founding member of two initiatives dedicated to fighting discrimination against women in the art world – The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) and Feminist Curators United (FcU). She received her M.A. and PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. Dr. Reilly is an Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Arizona State University.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Mimi Tempestt reading.

Mimi Tempestt

A photo of poet Mimi Tempestt
Courtesy Mimi Tempestt
Mimi Tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and daughter of California. She has a MA in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral student in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her debut collection of poems, the monumental misrememberings, was published by Co-Conspirator Press in 2020. She was chosen for Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices for poetry in 2021, and is currently a creative fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.