History of Art and Architecture

Making Advances: Program

Hosts: Kate Joranson, Head, Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Library; Kiana Jones, Visiting Fine Arts Librarian.

During the visit to the Frick Fine Arts Library, workshop participants considered the role of artist publishing in the politics of images by examining works from the artists’ book collection. Librarians Kate Joranson and Kiana Jones presented a variety of approaches to artistic book production, including examples of the democratic multiple, one-of-a-kind objects, and photo books. Zines and comics by Pittsburgh artists, including Non-partum, and Steer Queer were among the items discussed. In contrast to contemporary materials, the group also viewed a reproduction of Gauguin’s diary, Noa Noa: My Voyage to Tahiti, filled with personal narratives alongside wood-engravings, watercolors, and drawings that prompt discussions of exoticism and exploitation.


Workshop participants discussing the materials at the Frick Fine Arts Library


Hosts: Jessica Beck, Milton Fine Curator of Art; José Carlos Díaz, Chief Curator; Jenn Sichel, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago.

At The Andy Warhol Museum, Curator Jessica Beck discussed the Adman: Warhol Before Pop exhibition, focusing on the aspects of his early career that engage with questions of gender and sexuality, from the coded identity of his work as a ‘window dresser’ to the queer milieu of his ‘coloring parties’ at Serendipity. Beck also discussed the new installation of the museum’s seventh floor galleries, which offer a new look at the delicate techniques of Warhol’s early pre-pop artworks. Complementing this engagement with the museum’s collection, workshop participants joined museum staff for a lecture from visiting scholar Jenn Sichel, PhD candidate at the University of Chicago. Jenn’s paper Do you think Pop Art’s Queer? Gene Swenson and Andy Warhol revealed new archival discoveries concerning the status of sexuality in Warhol’s practice, and prompted useful discussions concerning the methodological challenges of queer approaches.


The Andy Warhol Museum, Curator Jessica Beck discussing the Adman: Warhol Before Pop exhibition with workshop participants


Hosts: David Grinnell, Coordinator of Archives and Manuscripts; Miriam Meislik, Media Curator; Bill Daw, Curator, Curtis Theater Collection; Megan Massanelli, Kuntu Repertory Theatre Project Archivist; Ben Ogrodnik, PhD candidate in History of Art and Film Studies; Cassandra Maas, undergraduate student, History of Art and Architecture.

In the Archives at the University of Pittsburgh, workshop participants examined historic images found in theater playbills, scrapbooks, pamphlets, photo collections, and ephemera. Curtis Theater Collection Curator Bill Daw introduced the group to the records of the Cap and Gown Club, Pitt’s all-male musical performance group from the early 20th century. PhD Candidate Ben Ogrodnik presented the short films: Women of Steel and Woman, Wire, Memory by Steffi Domike, artist and labor activist. Participants dug further into Domike’s role in the labor movement through items such as ‘Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions,’ a booklet shared among women steel workers. Cassandra Maas shared the research guide to Steffi Domike’s collection she worked on during her Museum Studies internship with Miriam Meislik, Media Curator.

Archivist Megan Massanelli presented materials from the Kuntu Repertory Theater Collection that enriched discussions of black masculinity and the history of theater in Pittsburgh. David Grinnell introduced the group to the rich holdings of several local organizations, including pre-marital and sex education pamphlets from the Planned Parenthood Center of Pittsburgh Records and photographs from the Visiting Nurse Association of Allegheny County.


Workshop participants exploring some of the materials at the Archives Service Center, University Library System


Hosts: John Paul Deley, Vice President and Director of Detre Library and Archives; Matt Strauss, Chief Archivist; Eric Lidji, Director Rauh Jewish History Program and Archives; Sierra Green, Archivist; Carly Lough, Archivist.

At the Detre Library and Archives at the Heinz History Center, participants explored a range of collections related to their specific research interests. These included the museum’s nineteenth century records concerning the ‘Feme Sole Trader’ act, the legal instrument through which the Pennsylvanian legal system allowed women to apply for legal rights to own property and operate in business. Among the rich photographic collections inspected were studio portraits of striptease performers from The Wheel Café in Downtown Pittsburgh. Two major archive collections related to the history of the AIDS crisis in Pennsylvania were also examined: the museum’s recently acquired records of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, and records concerning the ‘Jews with AIDS in the Family’ group founded by Melvin and Beverly Pollock.


Workshop participant, Shack Hackney, at the Detre Library


Hosts: Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist; Charlene Foggie Barnett, Archive Specialist.

For this session, participants were introduced to the holdings of the Teenie Harris Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Archivists Dominque Luster and Charlene Foggie Barnett discussed the collection, and explained how faculty and students could engage with its almost 80,000 images exploring the African American experience in Pittsburgh. Thematic groupings of Teenie’s works from the museum’s 2003 survey of his work were presented to the group to suggest the rich possibilities of the museum’s holdings. Workshop participants examined large-format exhibition prints from the collection that appear to document drag performers from the Hill District taken in the 1940s, and discussed the challenges of cataloguing and images of subjects whose precise gender identities are unknown.


Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archivist, with workshop participants Alana Fields and Nick Marsellas


Host: Eric Dorfman, Director, Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Eric Dorfman, Director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, briefed the group on the museum’s future programming in the area of LGBT science, and invited workshop participants to consider how the museum might further engage with Pitt faculty and students in the development of these initiatives.


Brittney Knotts, Eric Dorfman and Lisa Brush


Hosts: Jeanann Croft Haas, Special Collections Coordinator; Clare Withers, Curator, Elizabeth Nesbitt Collection; Ben Rubin, Library Specialist; Jennifer Needham, Archivist.

Archivist Jennifer Needham described the publication histories of Pitt's extensive collection of gay, lesbian, and trans periodicals, including The Ladder, Transvestia and TV/TS Tapestry. The workshop participants further explored a range of visual materials, including late 19th/Early 20th century sexual health, marriage, and etiquette books, and selections from the Leuba Print Collection and Rosensteel Japanese print collection. Clare Withers introduced the group to the breadth of children’s literature and girls magazines in the Elizabeth Nesbitt Collection.


Workshop participant Courtney Colligan at the Hillman Library


Host: Gosia Fort, Head, Digital Resource Development.

During our visit to Falk’s Rare Books and Special Collections, Librarian Gosia Fort introduced the group to the collection of anatomy atlases from the 16th- 19th centuries. Most notable was Anatomia del corpo humano by Juan Valverde di Hamusco (Rome, 1560.)  Workshop participants also explored several different editions of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), the text that was central to early psychiatric studies of sexuality, and which coined many terms still used today. Also on display was Tabulae anatomicae a celeberrimo picture by Pietro da Cartona (Rome 1741) and Opera omnia anatomico-medico-chirurgica by Frederik Ruysch, (Amsterdam, 1721).


Workshop participants in the Rare Book room at the Falk Library of The Health Sciences


Hosts: Michael Olijnyk, Co-Director; Caitlin Harpster, Director of Development; Sarah Hallett, Archivist.

At the Mattress Factory, workshop participants delved into the extraordinary career of transgender artist Greer Lankton though the museum’s rich holdings of the artist’s personal archives. Co-director Michael Olijnyk hosted the group in the artist’s landmark final installation It’s All About ME, Not You (1996), and recounted his involvement in its realization at the museum. After inspecting the exhibition of works in A Selection from the Greer Lankton Archive, the group spent the afternoon exploring the full breadth of the collection, including drawings, photo albums, scrapbooks, letters and diaries.


Workshop participants exploring the Greer Lankton Archive at the Mattress Factory


Hosts: Lulu Lippincott, Curator of Fine Arts; Dan Leers, Curator of Photography; Hannah Turpin, Curatorial Assistant.

At the Carnegie Museum of Art, workshop participants explored the themes of the workshop through three presentations from the museum’s curatorial team. Dan Leers discussed Deana Lawson in the Museum’s Forum gallery, exploring the intersections of gender and sexuality engaged by the Brooklyn based photographer. In Visions of Order and Chaos: The Enlightened Eye, Lulu Lippincott explored the parallel gestural signifiers of ownership evident in eighteenth century images of women, children, and slaves. Hannah Turpin, Curatorial Assistant, presented a survey of the museum’s forthcoming Crossroads re-installation of the Scaife Galleries, emphasizing its focus on diverse identity positions, and expanded emphasis on socio-cultural contexts and artist perspectives.


Dan Leers, Curator of Photography, discuss Deana Lawson's exhibition