Weintz Art Lecture Series: David J. Getsy

Date Range
Thu November 16th 2023, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Event Sponsor
Department of Art & Art History
Oshman Hall
355 Roth Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Stanford Department of Art & Art History's J. Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz Art Lecture Series presents David J. Getsy, Eleanor Shea Professor of Art History at University of Virginia.

Chic Radicals: Street Drag as Critical Performance Art in the late 1960s and 1970s

In New York City in the late 1960s and 1970s, drag—the self-aware and hyperbolic performance of gender’s symbols and conventions—became a form of critical and public performance art. This talk will focus on three episodes in which queer and transgender artists developed performance practices that drew on their own experiences of street life, drag, and poverty. Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, the Hot Peaches, and Stephen Varble each adapted a form of drag that was tactical, inexpensive, bold, and made for sidewalks rather than the stage. Challenging the nascent LGBT rights movement’s view of itself, these largely forgotten performance practices deployed street drag to confront elitism, to mock the pretensions of the wealthy, to seize public space, to demand the centrality of street life to LGBT politics, to disrupt the commercial art world, and to propose and expanded view of queer life.

David J. Getsy is the Eleanor Shea Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on queer and transgender art histories and methods, and he has published eight books, including Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (Yale University Press, 2015/2023), the anthology of artists’ writings Queer (MIT Press, 2016), and Queer Behavior: Scott Burton and Performance Art (University of Chicago Press, 2022), which won the 2023 Robert Motherwell Book Award for outstanding publication in the history and criticism of modernism in the arts. He is currently writing a book based on the retrospective exhibition he curated for the Leslie Lohman Museum, New York, titled Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble.

Image: Jimmy DeSana, Stephen Varble Performing ‘Gutter Art’, 1975. © Jimmy DeSana Trust.

This lecture series is made possible by a generous grant from J. Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz.

VISITOR INFORMATION: Oshman Hall is located at 355 Roth Way, in the McMurtry Building of the Stanford campus. Visitor parking is free all day on weekends and after 4 pm on weekdays, except by the Oval. Alternatively, take the Caltrain to Palo Alto Transit Center and hop on the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle. If you need a disability-related accommodation or wheelchair access information, please contact Julianne Garcia at juggarci [at] stanford.edu (juggarci[at]stanford[dot]edu)

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