A Queer History Of Objects In The V&A Collection – Course

General Idea AIDS Wallpaper Photo:© Artlyst 2019

Queer History: In 1996, while Section 28 of the Local Government Act banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in the UK was still in force, exhibitions about LGBTQ+ life were almost unheard of, or were at the least considered risky for museums. Yet V&A curator Shaun Cole made the defiant move to acquire more than 100 posters from around the world relating to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and put them on display. The exhibition was called ‘Graphic Responses to AIDS’.

Among the posters collected is ‘Kissing Doesn’t Kill’. It has long been considered significant by staff and volunteers at the museum for a simple reason: it is explicitly queer. Of the three interracial couples kissing on the poster, one pair is heterosexual while the other two pairs are queer.

Many of the most prominent thinkers in the field of LGBTQ+ art history and culture, explore the queer objects found at the V&A and beyond. Each week in the course subscribers will encounter remarkable individuals that reveal stories of diverse gender and sexual identities sometimes concealed in history, and at other times flaunted. The course will include an overview of the V&A collections and exhibitions that have helped change the way we understand queer art, as well as illustrate queer defiance in our past. This is the first course of its kind to be run by a major UK museum.

Furthermore, as some of the lecturers have played a direct role in shaping the V&A’s collection of queer objects, you will be given a special and personal insight into their choice of queer objects, giving you additional understanding into how they fit into a broader narrative of queer history beyond the walls of our museum. This is the first course of its kind to be run by a major UK museum.

V&A Academy Online art history courses bring you all the richness and rigour of the V&A through an easy-to-use platform built with the latest Microsoft technology.

Learn wherever, whenever. With V&A Academy Online, you can log in to view lectures live and pose your questions in the Q&A, or view the recording later in your own time. Download lecture notes, copies of the slides, and additional study materials from our secure learning environment. Then join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

Top Photo: General Idea Aids Wallpaper Photo © Artlyst 2019

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