Love's Archaeologies: Queer Time in Sappho, Frain, and Mehretu

  • Rockefeller Hall, 190

Featuring Professor Ella Haselswerdt, Postdoctoral Associate, Classics

Dr. Haselswerdt will present material from her continuing research on queer comtemporary artists' receptions of Sappho's fragmentary poems. She argues that philological analysis demonstrates the ways that this archaic poetry (probably written in the late 7th century BCE) prefigures current theoretical work on queer temporalities, and a consideration of the fragmentary nature of the surviving poetry explains why Sappho's corpus has tended to invite collaborative and material artisitc reponses. Using analysis of the poems as a frameowrk, this presentation will focus on two artists' books that both transmit and respond to Saphho's fragments: Rose Frain's Sappho Fragments and Julie Mehretu's Poetry of Sappho. Through prima facie quite similar, the two projects in fact chart vastly divergent paths through the Sapphic archive, and in doing so they model many of the tensions inherent to contemporary lesbian identities.