Public Programs

Queer Identities and Histories of American Art

On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, the American Federation of Arts partnered with The Art Students League for a round-table discussion inspired by next year’s inauguration of the traveling exhibition, Making American Artists: Stories from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1776-1976, organized by the AFA. This curatorial conversation focused on the visible and invisible ways queer identity has been encoded into American art, past and present.




Jonathan D. Katz, PhD | Professor of Practice, History of Art and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Anna O. Marley, PhD | Chief of Curatorial Affairs, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Ksenia M. Soboleva, PhD | Andrew W. Mellon Gender and LGBTQ+ History Fellow, New-York Historical Society


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Featured speakers:

Photographer: Douglas Levere

Jonathan D. Katz, PhD is an art historian, curator, queer activist, and Professor of Practice in Art History and in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He has curated many exhibitions, including his next major show, The First Homosexuals, which will start its international tour at Wrightwood 659, Chicago, IL, starting in April 2025. Katz served as the Founding Director of Yale University’s lesbian and gay studies program, and has founded the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association, the Harvey Milk Institute, and co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Town Meeting, and the activist group Queer Nation, San Francisco. He is also President Emeritus of The Leslie Lohman Museum for queer art in New York.

Anna O. Marley, PhD is the Chief of Curatorial Affairs and the Kenneth R. Woodcock Curator of Historical American Art at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She joined PAFA in March of 2009 and has since curated over 16 exhibitions there. Marley is a scholar of American art and material culture from colonial eras to the present and holds a B.A. in Art History from Vassar College, an M.A. in Museum Studies from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. Additionally, she is a current Advisory Board Member of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art Journal and University of Delaware Graduate College.


Photographer: Irina Kadyrova Schuddeboom

Ksenia M. Soboleva, PhD is a New York based writer and art historian specializing in queer art and culture. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, with a dissertation titled “Fragments: Art, AIDS, and Lesbian Identity in the United States.” Her writings have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB Magazine, Artforum, and Hyperallergic among many other publications. She is in the process of co-editing the first monograph on the 1990s lesbian gallery and project space TRIAL BALLOON. Soboleva was the 2020-2021 Vilcek Curatorial Fellow at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender and LGBTQ+ History at the New York Historical Society. She is a part-time faculty member at The New School.





Co-hosted by The Art Students League of New York.


AFA Public programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. These programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. We are also grateful for the support of the American Chai Trust.



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