In his lecture, art historian, independent curator and critic David Deitcher discusses "Once More, with Feeling" (a work in progress), his memoire examining the relationship between memory, emotion and forgetting in stories that date as far back as his childhood in Montreal during the 1950s and early 60s. These he weaves together with other accounts relating to the mid-to-late-1980s in New York and to the AIDS crisis, which decimated the generation of gay men to which Deitcher belongs. Prior to the introduction in 1995 of life-saving protease inhibitors and combination therapies, when testing positive for HIV was still a death sentence, artists responded to the epidemic, whether individually or collectively, with activist and/or non-activist works that evoke emotion rather than masking it. Surveying works by artists—some well known and many unknown for having died so young—that range across every medium, Deitcher’s lecture considers what was at stake in the return of affect and emotion to contemporary works of art that relied not on expressionist rhetoric but on the grammar and syntax of Minimalism and Conceptualism, whose apparently rigorous lack of content and emotion they implicitly critique.
The Interdisciplinary Seminar was designed twenty years ago to contribute to a regular and sustainable discussion on artistic practice for the students of the Cooper Union School of Art and the creative community that surrounds them. Lectures are free and open to the public.
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