Now in its fifth year, the annual Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute in Visual Arts offers York University graduate students and the wider community the opportunity to engage with prominent international theorists, artists, curators and critics through seminars, workshops and public lectures.

The 2013 Goldfarb Summer Institute, Unexpected Encounters: Sexual Difference and Art Now, co-directed by Professors Yvonne Singer and Sarah Parsons, examines the multiplexities of gender and sexuality in contemporary art through art historical, curatorial and theoretical perspectives.

This year's guests are curator and critic Helena Reckitt (Goldsmiths, University of London), feminist scholar, cultural analyst and art historian Griselda Pollock (University of Leeds), and art historian Richard Meyer (Stanford University). As part of their residency, they will meet on campus with MA, MFA and PhD candidates in visual arts and art history at York for informal discussions, seminars, critiques and studio visits.

The Goldfarb Summer Institute features three free public lectures: a talk by Griselda Pollack at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art; a lecture by Richard Meyer at the Art Gallery of Ontario; and a presentation by Meyer at York, accompanied by an exhibition.

The Summer Institute is named in recognition of Joan and Martin Goldfarb, longstanding supporters of York's Faculty of Fine Arts, whose generous gift has made this annual residency program possible.



Richard Meyer is the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University and director of The Contemporary Project at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art (2002), and What Was Contemporary Art? (MIT Press: 2013) and co-editor, with Catherine Lord, of Art and Queer Culture (Phaidon Press: 2013). His studies in modern and contemporary art focus on the ongoing debate over sexuality and gender, its effects on modern art and visual culture, and censorship and the public sphere.

Richard Meyer gives a public talk on “Curating Difference: 'Warhol's Jews' and Naked Hollywood' " at York University on May 8 and on "What Was Contemporary Art?" at the AGO on May 9.


Griselda Pollock is professor of the Social & Critical Histories of Art and director of the transdisciplinary Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (CentreCATH) at the University of Leeds, UK. An internationally renowned art historian and scholar in post-colonial feminist studies in the visual arts, she is best known for her theoretical and methodological innovation, combined with deeply engaged readings of modern, postmodern and contemporary art, film and cultural theory. Challenging dominant museum models of art and history, she articulates the complex relations between femininity, modernity, psychoanalysis and representation. Her recent publications include Art as Compassion: Bracha Ettinger (co-authored with Catherine de Zegher, 2011) and Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics and Resistance in Alain Resnais's ‘Night and Fog’ (co-edited with Max Silverman, 2011), winner of the 2012 Kraszna Krausz Award for Best Book on the Moving Image.

Dr. Pollock is leading seminars on “Art as Research: Pasts and Futures with reference to Affectivity, Aesthetics, Difference and Transgression” with graduate students at York University May 6-8. She gives a public lecture titled “Is Feminism Just a Bad Memory?”at MOCCA on May 8.


Helena Reckitt is an independent curator and critic based in London, UK. Formerly senior curator of programs at Toronto’s Power Plant, she has also held curatorial and programming positions at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London/UK, and was an associate editor at Routledge publishers. Her curatorial credits include exhibitions with artists Yael Bartana, Keren Cytter, Harrell Fletcher, Joachim Koester, Ryan Trecartin, Paul Shambroom and Carey Young. Her group exhibitions have explored inter-species relations (Adaptation, 2010), memory and re-enactment (Not Quite How I Remember It, 2008) and corporate and academic behaviour (What Business Are You In?, 2005). She is currently senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Helena Reckitt is participating in seminars with graduate students at York University.


Admission to all events is free.

Wednesday, May 8, 3pm at York University
Richard Meyer - "Curating Difference: 'Warhol's Jews' and Naked Hollywood' "

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Richard Meyer


“Curating Difference: 'Warhol's Jews' and Naked Hollywood' "
Wednesday, May 8 - 3pm
104 Accolade West Building, York University, 4700 Keele St. | Map & Directions

In this talk, Richard Meyer addresses the creative, art-historical and institutional constraints that shaped two exhibitions he guest -curated in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The first, Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered, focused on the relations among Jewishness, money, pop art and cultural stereotype in Warhol’s 1980 series of prints and paintings titled “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century”. The second, Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles, took up questions of tabloid photography, celebrity culture and the sex industry in Southern California in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Dr. Meyer demonstrates how both shows challenged the governing curatorial paradigms and institutional protocols of the museums that sponsored them (the Jewish Museum of New York and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco in the case of Warhol’s Jews and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in the case of Naked Hollywood). Ultimately, he argues for the value - as well as the difficulty - of stepping outside one’s own scholarly “comfort zone” to work as a guest curator in a museum.

Warhol’s Jews

Exhibition Hours:
Tuesday, May 7 - 2 to 4pm | Wednesday, May 8 - 10:30am to 3:15pm
The Gales Gallery, 105 Accolade East Building, York University, 4700 Keele St. | Map & Directions

In 1980, Warhol's most serious and critically acclaimed work was behind him and he had moved on to producing celebrity portraits, often on commission. Warhol created a series of portraits of ‘famous Jews’ at the suggestion of his art dealer, using a list he was given that included Sigmund Freud, George Gershwin, Albert Einstein, Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka and the Marx Brothers. Art critics reacted in horror, calling the project offensive, exploitative and cynical – though the paintings and the silkscreen prints based on them garnered enthusiastic audiences when they were shown in museums, galleries and even synagogues.

In 2008, Richard Meyer curated Warhol's Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered for the Jewish Museum of New York. The exhibition sought to re-examine the earlier controversy about the series and to reassess the importance of these works at a moment when Warhol's critical reputation had been rehabilitated to the point where he has been recognized as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

In conjunction with Dr. Meyer’s public talk on “Curating Difference: 'Warhol's Jews' and 'Naked Hollywood' ", an exhibition of Warhol’s portraits of “famous Jews” will be on view, drawn from the visual arts study collection of the Faculty of Fine Arts, gifted by Joan and Martin Goldfarb.

More information: 416-736-5533

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Wednesday, May 8, 7pm at MOCCA
Griselda Pollock - "Is Feminism Just a Bad Memory?"

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Griselda Pollock


“Is Feminism Just a Bad Memory?”
Wednesday, May 8 - 7pm
MOCCA, 952 Queen St. West, Toronto | Map & Directions

There have been a number of recent attempts to think about the history of feminism since the 1960s, and a spate of exhibitions attempting to historicize a moment called 'feminist art'.

In this lecture about history, memory and amnesia, Griselda Pollock examines the major issues raised by both the art historical and the historiographical projects. Is feminism a bad memory, in the sense of being disowned as irrelevant to contemporary art and theory? Or has a bad - i.e. inadequate and faulty - memory been crafted for its moment of emergence which is distorting our understanding of its place at our contemporary table of debates and resources? 

Via a critical re-examination of her own journey through 'feminist interventions' in art history, theory and practice,  Dr. Pollock  addresses both the recent 'killing' of feminism and the current attempts at resurrection  to challenge this treacherous mythology. 

Co-presented with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

More information: York University: 416-736-5533 | MOCCA: 416-395-0067

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Thursday, May 9, 7pm at the AGO
Richard Meyer - "What was Contemporary Art?"

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Richard Meyer


“What was Contemporary Art?”
Thursday, May 9 - 7pm
Jackman Hall, AGO, 317 Dundas Street West | Map & Directions

Contemporary art in the early 21st century is often discussed as though it were a radically new phenomenon unmoored from history. Yet all works of art were once contemporary to the artist and culture that produced them.  In this lecture, Dr. Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, exploring episodes in the study, exhibition and reception of early 20th-century art and visual culture.

Presented in association with the Art Gallery of Ontario

More information: York University: 416-736-5533 | AGO: 416-979-6648

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