Art History Lecture | Queer Medievalisms in Contemporary Art

Bryan Keene

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Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L150
@ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Queer Medievalisms in Contemporary Art

Bryan Keene (Art History, Riverside Community College)
Friday, April 19, 2024 | Conrad A. Elvehjem, Rm. L150 | 5:00–6:30pm CT

The art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe has inspired creators of the LGBTQIA2+ communities in North America for decades. Themes of religion, the body, disease, and human relationships under the law are as urgent now as they were in the past. This talk examines dialogues between historical objects made from about 500-1600 with contemporary art from the 1980s to today with the goal of expanding ideas about gender and sexuality across time and understanding the draw queer- and trans-identifying creators today have with these time periods.

The diversity of queer and trans artists included emphasizes intersectionality, that is, how individuals, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) or with multiple intersecting identities of (dis)ability, class, gender, race, religion, and sexuality face marginalization, prejudice, and discrimination. Some of the narratives related to HIV/AIDS and hate crimes are painful and may be triggering. Stories of coming out and pride offer hope for a future of care, inclusion, and justice.

LGBTQIA2+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, Two-Spirit, and those with other gender expansive identities and individuals who are sexually fluid. In this proposal, the word “queer” encompasses artists who identify as LGBTQIA2+.

Bryan C. Keene teaches art history at Riverside City College, where he specializes in Italian manuscript illumination and the global Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the nexus of Afro-Eurasian book culture, portable objects, and materials. Previously a curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, his exhibition credits include The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: An Epic Journey through Imaginary Medieval Worlds, co-authored with Larisa Grollemond (2022); Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts(2019); and Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art, co-curated with Kirsten Collins (2019).

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Art History and History, the Jay and Ruth Halls Visiting Scholar Fund, and the Anonymous Fund.