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A lecture by KU professor emeritus Michael L. Johnson, in conjunction with the Rocket-Grant funded project, Queer-A-Fest Destiny: Pioneers Reimagined by Kansas City –based artist Jessica Borusky

About the project:

Queer-A-Fest Destiny: Pioneers Reimagined is an artistic and academic project that explores the connections between the Pioneer Trails, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, President Teddy Roosevelt, Missouri painter Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollock, and several pioneer female-to-male cross-dressers. The project consists of several elements tied to queer identity and the frontier: public performances, lectures, and a catalogue in the fall of 2016, all of which will be archived at the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America. This project will bring new audiences together to learn about Kansas City’s rich local and nationally-connected history, while integrating new ways of developing aesthetic and textual material.

For this installment of the project, writer and historian Michael L. Johnson will discuss homosexuality, literature, history, and the rodeo. After Mr. Johnson’s lecture, there will be a group discussion.

About the collaborators:

Michael L. Johnson is a professor emeritus at the University of Kansas, Michael L. Johnson is the author of five books on the American West: Violence and Grace:  Poems about the American West; Sky Land:  A Southwestern Cycle; From Hell to Jackson Hole:  A Poetic History of the American West; New Westers:  The West in Contemporary American Culture; and Hunger for the Wild: America’s Obsession with the Untamed West.  He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jessica Borusky is an artist, educator, and curator currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. Jessica received her Master of Fine Arts at Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and presently teaches at the University of Missouri Kansas City and Metropolitan Community College in the Art and Art History Departments; and is the founder of Alt. Lecture KC and Plain(s) Performance Praxis. She is the recipient of two ArtsKC Inspiration Grants for her curatorial and artistic endeavors, a Bread KC grant, an Andy Warhol Foundation Rocket Grant, and is a writing and curatorial fellow for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Jessica’s critical and creative writing can be found in ArtsFocus Oklahoma, Informality, Emergency Index, and A Glimpse Of, a yearlong writing and visual arts project for an Athens, GR catalogue. Jessica is currently curating work at MAINSITE (OK), Art in the Loop Foundation (KCMO), directing a performance art symposium at La Esquina Gallery (KCMO), and an advisor for the Morni Hills Artist Residency in Chandigarh, IN. Regarding her studio practice, Jessica will be showing artwork in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Center (NV) in May 2016 and the University of Canterbury (NZ) late 2016/early 2017.


March 23, 2016
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


KU Spencer Museum of Art
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Lawrence Arts Center
940 New Hampshire St
Lawrence, KS 66044 United States
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