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Alexis Bard Johnson

Lexi Johnson

Alexis Bard Johnson

Art History
B.A., Princeton University, 2012

About

Originally from Chicago, Lexi graduated from Princeton University, where she worked with Rachael DeLue and Gayle Salamon on her undergraduate thesis, “Queering George Bellows and the Question of ‘Gay Art.’” She focuses on American art history, visual culture, and issues of gender and sexuality, especially re-examining our understanding of modern American art using contemporary feminist and queer theory. Having worked at the Princeton Art Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, Lexi is particularly interested in how the public interacts with works of art and how museums will meet the demands of the 21st century visitor. Her essay “The Work of Being Sexed: Andy Warhol on Drag” was published in Contact Warhol: Photography Without End (MIT, 2018).

Lexi is currently a 2018-2019 Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellow in American Art. Her dissertation is titled “Turning the Page: Image and Identity in U.S. Lesbian Magazines.” It is the first scholarly consideration of the visual culture in lesbian magazines in the United States. The photographs, drawings, paintings, posters, prints, diagrams, and cartoons by leading lesbian artists, both contemporary and historical, helped create and define lesbian existence in social, political, racial, and sexual dimensions during the second half of the twentieth century. This dissertation argues that these magazines supported and encouraged collaboration and creative expression and functioned as exhibition spaces for lesbian art and artists. As women, these artists put pressure on social constructions of gender and, as homosexuals, these artists questioned the normativity of heterosexuality. Thus, analyzing the content of these mostly overlooked periodicals offers access to a broader history of lesbian culture. Furthermore, examining the artists and artwork in these magazines expands the conversation on feminist and queer art.