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Queer Self-Fashioning Lecture and Reception

About the Lecture

Marjorie Merriweather Post was keenly aware that fashion could express her personality and define her public identity as she evolved from youthful debutante to grande dame.

The special exhibition Ingenue to Icon provides the impetus to examine how others use clothing to express their identities. Scholar Jonathan Katz discusses how the LGBTQ community has employed self-fashioning. When “the love that dared not speak its name” was not only freely spoken, but emblazoned in six inch tall letters on t-shirts, it became clear that much had changed. This talk explores why the queer t-shirt became the privileged vehicle of LGBTQ activist politics for a relatively brief, but influential, moment in the 1980s and 1990s.


5:30-6:30 pm: Mansion and Ingenue to Icon open for touring
6:30-7:30 pm: Lecture
7:30 pm: Book Signing: To pre-order your copy of Queer Fashion and Hide/Seek the from the Museum Shop call 202-686-8510  (Please note: To participate in the book signing portion of the lecture, it is Hillwood's policy that all books must be purchased from the Museum Shop.) 
7:30-8:30 pm: Director’s Reception

About the Speaker

Jonathan D. Katz co-curated Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which opened at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2010, and was named the 2011 Best National Museum Exhibition by American art critics. Its eponymous book was named best LGBTQ non-fiction by the American Library Association that same year.  In 2013, Katz contributed to A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, edited by Valerie Steele. Katz directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo. Previously, Katz was a Senior Visiting Fellow at London's Courtauld Institute of Art, and, at Yale University (2002-06), founding director of its first official Lesbian and Gay Studies program. A pioneering scholar, in 1990, he was the first American academic to be tenured in the field of queer studies. He founded both the Harvey Milk Institute and the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association, and co-founded Queer Nation, San Francisco.  He is president of the new Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. His next big national exhibition, Art AIDS America, opened in Los Angeles this summer, and will open at the Tacoma Art Museum in October before travelling to other museums across the country. 

About the Director’s Reception

Hillwood has more than 15 years of important experience serving the LGBT community through outreach and programs. Since 2013, executive director Kate Markert has hosted an annual reception in conjunction with a keynote program to foster and celebrate LGBT engagement.

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Lectures and Talks

Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 9:45am

Engage with people and ideas through programs that explore historic themes with contemporary thinkers. Encounter works of art up close in the intimate and personalized spaces of Hillwood’s Mansion and Gardens during gallery talks. 

Delve deeper into intriguing topics of art, fashion, design, and history with Hillwood’s curators, horticulturists, staff, distinguished experts, and international scholars, at study days, lectures and book talks.

Member Events

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 4:45pm

Membership at Hillwood offers more than free access to the estate and a Museum Shop discount. Members enjoy advanced reservations and discounts on programs and lectures, private receptions, and special member only events such as exhibition openings, tours, and field trips. Join the Hillwood community today!

  • Katz family portrait with author in queer t-shirt, 1990, Courtesy of the author.

    Katz family portrait with author in queer t-shirt, 1990, Courtesy of the author.

  •  © Rick Gerharter.
  • Man with Queer Nation Stickers at Governor Pete Wilson's inaugural. © Rick Gerharter.