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Prof. David Getsy, Terra Visiting Professor 2020/21


The Terra Visiting Professor at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute David Getsy (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) offers the following courses on American Art in the summer term 2021: 

Queer History of American Art, 1950s to 1990s (BA course) 

Wednesdays 6 – 8 p.m., Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin); course number 32101-S21; first session on April 14, 2021. 

In the wake of the Second World War, demographic shifts fostered new concentrations of lesbian, gay, and otherwise non-heterosexual people in U.S. cities starting in the 1950s. Visual art that addressed these increasingly visible communities began to flourish in these decades, and this course will track the shifts in the queer production of art during this time. We will examine the transition from highly coded and covert registrations of queer lives in the 1950s to the forthrightness and activism that emerged after the Stonewall uprising in 1969 to the rage of the 1980s spurred by government inaction on the AIDS crisis. The course will be structured around case studies that examine changing attitudes toward the politics of visibility, the question of assimilation, the need for radical refusal, and the disruption of norms and naturalized roles. Throughout, our examinations will be focused on larger questions for the history and historiography of U.S. art, including the erasure of non-white subjects from queer art historical narratives, the appropriation of transgender histories by queer art and politics, and the continuing institutional censorship of queer art. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). 

American Art and Transgender History (MA course)

Wednesdays 2 – 4 p.m., Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin); course number 32112-S21; first session on April 14, 2021. 

This graduate seminar in theory and methodology will ask what transgender studies and art history have to say to each other. The seminar will introduce transgender studies and examine the ways in which the discipline of art history can contribute to its debates about form, the status of the human figure, the legibility of bodies, and the visualization of complex and successive states. Our primary focus will be on how transgender studies compels us to read and write U.S. art history differently. Our topics will include work by transgender cultural producers and artists, but we will also examine the ways in which transgender and nonbinary methods can be used to look at canonical, mainstream, and ostensibly non-trans topics in a new and more accurate light. While there will be case studies from contemporary art, the majority of the seminar will be focused on the methods that can be used to write new historical narratives of nineteenth- and twentieth-century in U.S. art history. This is a reading-intensive, theoretically-focused graduate seminar in which students are expected to produce original scholarly research. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). 

Professor Getsy offers the following courses on American Art in the winter term 2020/21:

Objects, Agents, and Audiences: Sculpture and its Expansions in the United States from the 1950s to 1990s (BA Course)

Wednesdays 10 a.m. – noon, Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin) room 319; course number 32101, first session on November 4, 2020.

The second half of the twentieth century saw a fundamental reorganization of the medium of sculpture, and this course will chart its major developments. From the 1950s onward, sculptors in the United States became preoccupied with their work’s relationship to everyday objects, industrial products, mass consumer goods, and the human body. Sculptural representation was left behind as abstraction, assemblage, objecthood, and dematerialization took hold, and we will examine sculptors’ restless attempts at greater degrees of relation to everyday things, institutional contexts, and human bodies. Artists were energized by how sculpture could expansively incorporate architecture, performance, and the lived body; but they also prophesied its disintegration and obsolescence. Pushed to its limits, sculpture came to occupy a central role in American art theory, and it became an analogy for debates about gender, power, history, and commodification. This course will examine the ways in which these contestations of the sculptural object registered important cultural and intellectual shifts in American art and culture across these decades. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). Deadline for registration is October 28, 2020. Self-enrollment on Campus Management is not possible for this course, thus, please register here.

Street Actions: Public Performance Art and the City of New York in the 1970s and 1980s (MA Course)

Wednesdays 2 – 4 p.m., Kennedy Institute (Lansstr. 7-9, 14195 Berlin) room 319; course number 32115, first session on November 4, 2020.

This seminar will examine how New York City's urban spaces enabled the proliferation of performance art in the 1970s and 1980s. The tumultuous shifts in the economic landscape of New York City facilitated new modes of non-commercial artistic practices that turned away from the commodified object and toward performance, event, and action. We will study the ways in which artists created disruptive public tactics, urban interventions, infiltrations of institutions, and public protests. Emphasis will be placed on performance art at public sites, often unauthorized and unsanctioned. A central question will be how artists actively sought unexpecting audiences and new locations for performance in order to contest mainstream narratives of race, sexuality, and/or gender. Case studies will include Adrian Piper, Scott Burton, Betsy Damon, Tehching Hsieh, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Stephen Varble, Pope.L, Papo Colo, Tseng Kwong Chi, Lorraine O’Grady, and ACT UP. From eroticism to activism, performance art interacted with the city’s urban geography, contested zones, and infrastructure. We will examine how performance artists in these decades made the street the stage and confronted new audiences. Please register at: culture@jfki.fu-berlin.de with your name, matriculation number, study program, home university (if applicable), zedat email address or email address of home university, and type of exchange program (if applicable). Deadline for registration is October 28, 2020. Self-enrollment on Campus Management is not possible for this course, thus, please register here.