(CHICAGO, IL Jan. 15, 2021) Wrightwood 659 congratulates our friend, curator, and collaborator, Jonathan David Katz on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's announcement of a $5,000,000 award for the proposal"Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present." Dr. Katz will work with an interdisciplinary team of his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania on this three-year project. The grant is part of Mellon's "Just Futures Initiative," (#JustFutures) its program to support visionary, unconventional, experimental, and groundbreaking projects to address the long-existing fault lines of racism, inequality, and injustice. In this collaborative research project, Dr. Katz and his colleagues intend to document territorial, embodied, and cultural heritage dispossessions in the Americasthrough the mechanisms of deceit, disease, and violencefrom 1492 to the present, and to outline how the restoration of land, embodiments, and cultural values can recover histories and promote restorative justice.
Wrightwood 659 supports this project enthusiastically and will partner with Dr. Katz and his team to contribute to the realization of their ambitious goals.
Jonathan Katz has been a frequent collaborator, curator, consultant, and muse to Wrightwood 659 as this new art exhibition space launched in Chicago. He was the curator of Art AIDS America Chicago, mounted at the temporary Alphawood Gallery. His monumental 2019 exhibition About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and new Queer Artcommemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion by documenting the state of contemporary queer art and artists. He is currently curating an exhibition to examine the innovative legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, which will form a major part of a larger Wrightwood 659 presentation in the fall, 2021, focused on historic preservation and works by important Chicago architects. Katz is also working with Wrightwood 659 on several other projects, each of which will further the art space's commitment to presenting socially engaged and challenging art and artists to Chicago and the world.
Jonathan D. Katz
Jonathan D. Katz is an art historian, curator and queer activist. Associate Professor of Practice in Art History and Interim Director of the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Katz is a pioneering figure in the development of queer art history, and author of several books and articles, often writing the first queer accounts of numerous artists. He has curated many exhibitions, nationally and internationally, including the first major museum queer exhibition in the US, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which won several national and international best exhibition and book awards. The first full-time American academic to be tenured in what was then called Lesbian and Gay Studies, at City College of San Francisco, Katz was also the Founding Director of Yale University's lesbian and gay studies program, the first in the Ivy League. An activist academic, he also founded the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association, the professional association of artists and art historians, co-founded Queer Nation, San Francisco, and co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Town Meeting, the organization that successfully lobbied for queer anti-discrimination statutes in the city of Chicago. Katz is President Emeritus of The Leslie Lohman Museum for queer art in New York.
About the Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation's largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.
About Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659 is a private, non-collecting institution devoted to socially engaged art and architecture. Located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the intimate space officially opened in late 2018 and presents two public exhibitions annually. Wrightwood 659 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, who transformed a 1920s building with his signature concrete forms and poetic treatment of natural light. For more information, visit: wrightwood659.org/ .