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Historian, Artist, Activist: Jonathan Ned Katz in Conversation

May 29, 6 pm.

Join Village Preservation for an evening with historian, artist, and activist Jonathan Ned Katz, the subject of its most recent oral history. A renowned public historian and author, whose pioneering work helped to found the fields of U.S. LGBTQ and heterosexual history, Katz grew up in Greenwich Village in a house on Jane Street and attended the Little Red School House.

Katz in 1971 joined the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), and in June 1972 used his name on a documentary play, Coming Out! produced by GAA at its rented firehouse on Wooster Street. The mainstream publicity received by the play led a publisher to offer Katz a contract for the collection of documents and interpretation published in 1976 as Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the USA. At that time within academia, young scholars were warned that producing work on this history would ruin their careers. Katz’s play and book led to his joining a network of gay men, lesbians, bisexual and heterosexual women that met regularly in study groups over the following decades –– often in the Greenwich Village house on Jane Street where Katz had lived as a child –– enabling he and others to found the academic field of LGBTQ history and studies.

In this conversation with Village Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman, Katz will also focus on his little-known career as an artist; on the Greenwich Village family that encouraged his precocious child art and talented teen art; and his work as a textile designer at the Jack Prince Studio.

Katz will discuss with Berman his memoir in progress, Coming of Age in Greenwich Village: A Painter, His Paintings, His Life, and show examples of his art, celebrating the male nude, and featured in a one-man show at the Leslie Lohman Museum in 2013.