University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Jonathan Katz

Associate Professor

Director, PhD Program

Office: 202 Center for the Arts

Jonathan D. Katz works at the intersection of art history and queer history, one of the busiest intersections in American culture, and yet one of the least studied. A specialist in the arts of the Cold War era, he is centrally concerned with the question of why the American avant-garde came to be dominated and defined by queer artists during what was perhaps the single most homophobic decade in this nation’s history.

The four essay reproduced here all attempt to read the work of some of these central Cold War artists like John Cage, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg in terms of resistance to dominant culture. But theirs’ was a queer kind of resistance, almost illegible as dissident, for it employed strategies like silence, chance, emptiness and coding to mark its distance from the dominant social historical climes. Paradoxically, these quiet, closeted forms of resistance soon came to define the American avant-garde across the board. These essays attempt to explain how and why.


  • VS 500- Topics in Visual Studies -Black Mountain College
  • VS 500- Topics in Visual Studies -Postwar Postmodern
  • VS 500- Topics in Visual Studies- Art, Sex and the 1960s
  • VS 500- Topics in Visual Studies-Hot Art/Cold War: Abstract Expressionism and After
  • AHI 590 Methods in Visual Studies

Read course descriptions on the Graduate Courses page.

Other Art History/Visual Studies Faculty:

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax