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Gallery Talk: David J. Getsy, Jonathan David Katz, and William Smith

Gallery Talk: David J. Getsy, Jonathan David Katz and William Smith
Saturday, September 21, at 12:00 PM
​Gray Warehouse, 2044 West Carroll Ave, Chicago

Richard Gray Gallery is pleased to host a panel discussion joining distinguished scholars and curators David J. Getsy (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Jonathan David Katz (State University of New York, Buffalo) in conversation with Art in America Editor-in-Chief William Smith. The discussion takes place at Gray Warehouse on Saturday, September 21 at 12:00 PM on the occasion of Leon Polk Smith: Endless Space, an exhibition surveying the artist’s iconic paintings from 1950s to 1970s. This event is free and open to the public.


Leon Polk Smith: Endless Space features paintings from the artist’s iconic Correspondence and Constellation series which he produced over a twenty-year span between the late 1950s and the 1970s. Characterized by their interactive, multipart compositions, these paintings have come to be known as the artist’s signature works. In addition to examining the impact of Smith’s formal ingenuity, the panelists will consider how biographical elements prevail within the artist’s work, analyzing Smith’s compositions through the lenses of queer theory and the artist’s Native American heritage. This expanded frame of personal and conceptual reference will seek to further expand on some of Smith’s under-explored legacies as a pioneer of hard-edge abstraction and major influence on many generations of artists.


David J. Getsy writes about queer and transgender tactics in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on histories of abstraction, sculpture, and performance. He has published seven books, including Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (Yale 2015), Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965–1975 (Soberscove 2012), Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (Yale 2010), and the anthology of artists’ writings, Queer (MIT Press 2016). He recently curated the retrospective exhibition Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble for the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (2018-2019) and a related traveling exhibition for the ONE Archives Foundation Museum & Gallery. Getsy is the recipient of the 2019 Senior Fellowship from the Dedalus Foundation. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History.


Jonathan D. Katz directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, and is a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He co-curated Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first queer art exhibition ever mounted at a major US museum, which opened at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and then traveled, winning the Best National Museum Exhibition award from the International Association of Art Critics and the best LGBT non-fiction book award from the American Library Association. His next major exhibition, entitled Art AIDS America, traveled to five museums across the US, also accompanied by a substantial new book. A pioneering figure in the intersection of art history and queer studies, Katz was the first full-time American academic to be tenured in the field and chaired the first department of Gay and Lesbian Studies in the US. At Yale University, Katz was founding director of the first queer studies program in the Ivy League. Katz is now completing two new books. An active activist curator, Katz also curated the major exhibition About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago this past summer, and is a contributing essayist for the catalogue accompanying Leon Polk Smith: Endless Space.



William Smith is an editor and art historian who joined the Art in America editorial team in 2013. Since then, he has contributed numerous articles to the magazine on topics ranging from abstract painting to digital technology in museums. Smith is a founding editor of the online magazine Triple Canopy, where he has published essays, curated digital artwork, and organized public programs in partnership with museums around the country. In addition to holding curatorial positions at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, Art in General, and the Fabric Workshop and Museum, William has lectured frequently at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and taught art history courses at New York University, Colorado College, and Pratt Institute. He holds degrees in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. 


Seating is limited. RSVP is preferred but not required. RSVP to

For other inquiries about this event, please contact Becky Daniel,