Arlington Arts Center is proud to present a virtual conversation between artist Alexander D’Agostino and historian David K. Johnson.
In the exhibition Lavender Shrine, D’Agostino uses archival material, including mid-century queer erotica, news clippings, and images of early gay rights protests to explore the history of the Lavender Scare, a Cold War-era moral panic targeting gay and lesbian employees in the federal workforce. David K. Johnson’s groundbreaking and award-winning book, The Lavender Scare brought this cold war era purge of homosexuals from the federal government to national prominence.
The conversation takes place as part of AAC’s Pride month programming and in conjunction with the exhibition Alexander D’Agostino: Lavender Shrine, on view at AAC through June 18 as part of SOLOS 2022.
In conjunction with their conversation, AAC will host a virtual screening of The Lavender Scare, a documentary film based on David K. Johnson’s research. The virtual screening will be available from June 8 through June 14 via AAC’s website.
About Alexander D’Agostino: Lavender Shrine
Alexander D’Agostino works with queer histories and images, reclaiming material from queer archives and paying homage to previous generations through practices of myth-making and ritual. In Lavender Shrine, D’Agostino explores the history of the Lavender Scare. Drawing visual inspiration from Arlington Arts Center’s Tiffany windows, D’Agostino connects the funerary nature of his ongoing Queer Shrouds project with the history of the windows.
Alexander D’Agostino is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher based in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009 with a BFA in painting. He investigates the queer and otherworldly through dance, ritual, teaching, and visual art. His work has been presented at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, VisArts in Rockville, MD, the Center for Contemporary Art of Afghanistan in Kabul, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, Chashama’s summer performance series in Manhattan, the Itinerant Performance Art Festival at the Queens Museum, and at Transformer in Washington, DC.
About David K. Johnson
David K. Johnson is a historian, award-winning author, and a nationally recognized authority on LGBT history. His book The Lavender Scare has inspired a novel, a play, and an opera and was the basis for the award-winning documentary film The Lavender Scare. His most recent book, Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement, chronicles the rise of a gay commercial mail-order network in the years before the Stonewall Riots. Shortlisted for the PROSE Award in U.S. History, the Hagley Prize in Business History, and the Randy Shilts Award in gay studies, Buying Gay won the John Boswell Prize from the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History.
Johnson has appeared on CNN, PBS, and CBS Sunday Morning and his writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Foreign Policy. He has enjoyed fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Social Science Research Council. Johnson holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, both in history. As Professor in the History Department at the University of South Florida, he teaches courses on the post-1945 U.S. and the history of gender and sexuality.
Arlington Arts Center is located at 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA.