Birkbeck, University of London/PPV; via Microsoft Teams
The "Ars Homo Erotica" exhibition opened at The National Museum in Warsaw on 10 June 2010. It examined the significance of homoerotic aesthetics and the homoerotic imagination in the history of art from ancient times until the present. This large-scale show had been devised as the museum’s contribution to the debate on the rights of the LGBTQ communities in Poland, in Eastern Europe, and in the larger world. The idea was proposed by the late Piotr Piotrowski, then the Director of the Warsaw Museum, as a major step of the Critical Museum project, which advocates the use of museum collections and resources to provide a forum for debates on burning social and political issues at the time of conflict.
The exhibition was hotly discussed by the media from Poland to Canada, and was vehemently opposed by right-wing politicians in Poland.
This online debate will focus on the impact of the exhibition, which has been listed recently by Maura Reilly as one of the major events of curatorial activism. But, did it help to realign the field?
The event is organised jointly by Birkbeck's Centre for Museum Cultures; PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical), a research and art platforms based at the FRINGE Centre (UCL SSEES/Institute for Advanced Studies) and The Courtauld Institute of Art.
Itinerary for the evening:
Introduction by Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Birkbeck; Michał Murawski, UCL, Maria Mileeva, Courtauld Institute of Art and Denis Maximov (PPV/Avenir Institute)
Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Ars Homo Erotica - Ten Years Later
Maura Reilly, Ars Homo Erotica and Curatorial Activism
Paweł Leszkowicz, The Biggest Curatorial Challenge: Queering the National Museums
Tomasz Kitliński, Art versus Homophobia - the Polish Case
Anastasiia Fedorova, Curating Queer Russian Power
Katarzyna Perlak, presentation of her film Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke (I once had a lover) 2016, and Happy Ever After
Dr Kasia Murawska-Muthesius is a former Deputy Director of the National Museum in Warsaw and an Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, Department of History of Art. Among her publications are Borders in Art: Revisiting Kunstgeographie (2000); National Museum in Warsaw Guide: Galleries and Study Collections (2001); Kantor was Here: Tadeusz Kantor in Great Britain (Black Dog 2011), From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum (Ashgate 2015, with Piotr Piotrowski), and Maps and Images of Eastern Europe: Sarmatia Europea to Post-Communist Europe (forthcoming with Routledge).
Dr. Maura Reilly is a curator who has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally with a specific focus on marginalized artists. She has written extensively on global contemporary art and curatorial practice, including, most recently Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2018), which was named a “Top 10 Best Art Book of 2018” by the New York Times. Reilly is the Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she developed and launched the first exhibition and public programming space in the USA devoted entirely to feminist art. While there, she organized several landmark exhibitions, including the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, the blockbuster Global Feminisms (co-curated with Linda Nochlin), among many others. She is a founding member of two initiatives dedicated to fighting discrimination against women in the art world – The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) and Feminist Curators United (FcU). In 2015, Reilly was named one of the Top 50 most influential people in the art world by Art & Auction, in recognition of her advocacy for women artists. She received her M.A. and PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. Reilly is Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Arizona State University.
Tomasz Kitliński and Paweł Leszkowicz are LGBTQ-feminist activists. Tomasz is Professor of cultural studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Paweł – Professor of Art History at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. They married in Brighton, England. Tomasz studied with Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva, Paweł at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Tomasz held a post of Fulbright scholar at the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, New School for Social Research in New York, Pawel was a Fulbright scholar at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries in Los Angeles. Both of them participated in Eastern Europe’s pioneering lesbian and gay visibility campaign Let Them See Us and, drawing on this experience, authored a Polish-language book Love and Democracy with an extensive English summary. Their other books include: Helen Chadwick: The Iconography of Subjectivity; Naked Man: The Male Nude in post-1945 Polish Art; The Stranger within Ourselves; and Art Pride. They published with Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, New York University Press, and AICA-Centre Georges Pompidou.
Katarzyna Perlak is a Polish born artist, based in London whose practice employs video, performance, sound and installation. Perlak’s work is driven by politics and feelings; examines queer subjectivities, migration and potentiality of affect as a tool for registering and archiving both present continuous and past historical moments. She currently explores ‘tender crafts’ methodologies and the relationships between notions of utopia, hope, horizon and the concept of the ‘wish landscape’.
Anastasiia Fedorova is a writer and curator based in London. She is a regular contributor to Dazed, i-D, GARAGE, Kaleidoscope Magazine, 032c, The Guardian and Highsnobiety among other titles. In her writing and research, she specialises in photography and visual culture, political and social aspects of fashion and LGBTQ+ issues. In 2020, she curated "The Real Thing", an exhibition at London's Fashion Space Gallery which looked at fashion bootleg as a social issue and creative language. She is also a founder of "Russian Queer Revolution", a platform for LGBTQ+ creatives from Russia.