Devon Matson

We’re All A Little Bit Gay: Female Homoeroticism In Greek Art

April 2, 2021   /  

Student Name: Devon Matson
Majors: History, Archaeology
Advisors: Dr. Jordan Biro Walters, Dr. Olivia Navarro-Farr

Critical Digital Engagement Award

My Independent Study focuses on how homoerotic relationships between women can be seen in Greek art. Using queer and feminist theory, I present a reinterpretation of several art pieces and display this in a digital exhibition. These analyses help combat the heteronormative and androcentric narrative that is dominate in the field of archaeology, specifically Classical archaeology. This project is important because it brings to light conversations about identities and our understanding of the people in the past. Questioning the current scholarship is important, especially as it relates to ideas such as gender, sexuality, and race. I am also excited about the digital exhibition that I created to display my art pieces. It was important to me that this information be as accessible as possible, and I feel that by creating a digital exhibition that is guided and narrated, I was able to present the information to a broader audience. I have been interested in female representation in Greek art since I started studying archaeology. Exploring their sexuality felt important and interesting to me because there is a lack of scholarship regarding lesbians throughout history. In the future, I would like to see more art pieces being reexamined under these theoretical lenses. I hope to see more digital exhibitions such as this one, because I believe that they can be a great way to spread information in an engaging way.

Click to view the digital exhibit

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Devon will be online to field comments on April 16: 10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST 6am-8am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)

82 thoughts on “We’re All A Little Bit Gay: Female Homoeroticism In Greek Art”

  1. What a great project, Devon! Inspiring to see such creativity and invention!

  2. Hey Devon, well done. Nice job with the project and the digital exhibit. How did you decide which art pieces to include/to analyze?

    1. Thank you! I began by looking for art pieces that were more overtly sexual (the cup from Apollodorus for example), then began looking at images of women together to see if there might be a homoerotic relationship that is discernible based on the activities they were engaging in, the way they were interacting with each other, or the way that they were dressed. I chose these art pieces in particularly because I thought they offered a different variety of how homoeroticism can be portrayed and overlooked.

  3. Wow, well done Devon. Loved this exhibit. Your teammates and coaches are so proud you. This is amazing research! Congrats

  4. Congrats Devon!! I really enjoyed your project and listening to the ArtSteps was super engaging and informative!

  5. Very interesting project, Devon. I loved the opportunity to get a guided tour of your exhibit!

  6. Congrats Devon! Also congrats on your award, so deserved! Your digital exhibit was so engaging, interesting, and informative. I was curious if you think digital exhibits like this one may be increasing in need/importance due to allowing more people to access information virtually especially in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic?

    1. Thank you Rachel! I do think that they are becoming more important, especially during the pandemic. With many museums being closed, they have had to find different ways to still engage with the community and I think digital exhibitions are one way that they have been able to do that. They also serve as a great resource both before and after the pandemic, for anyone who may not have access to the museum otherwise.

  7. Congrats Devon! This is one of the most engaging digital exhibits I’ve seen.

  8. Thank you for creating this exhibit, what a great way to experience art that you may not have the ability to see in person. How did your approach in curating this exhibit differ from how you would have done it in a physical setting?

    1. Thank you! This was different in the way that I had to gain permission and access to the art pieces (I had to have copyright rather than requesting possession of the actual art). Organizing the exhibit was also different because I was able to direct the viewers in a specific manner, rather than have them wander in their own direction. Adding the narrative also added an aspect that was different than curating a physical exhibit.

  9. Congrats, Devon! I love the title, your choice of topic, and greatly enjoyed the digital exhibit! Wonderful work!

  10. Good job Devon! Congratulations on the award you totally earned it, I think everything looks amazing!

  11. Devon, this is such a fantastic and well-done project! Everyone in the archaeology department knows how hard you’ve worked and it really shows!

  12. Well done Devon! This is such a creative and exciting piece of research, and I can tell how much you enjoyed the research process. Also, the artsteps portion was a wonderful addition, you created a beautiful show!

  13. Hi Devon! Your project is so interesting and absolutely necessary in this day and age! I really enjoyed getting to go through the digital gallery and can’t help but to admire how much work you put into it! My question is simply a curiosity one – is your title a Harry Styles reference? If not, please ignore that question. Thank you and congratulations!!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed! To answer your question, yes it is and I’m so happy someone noticed!

  14. Devon, this is such an engaging digital project! Well done. You should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished.

  15. Devon,
    Impressive project! Great to see how curation can still be done in such an engaging way during this time of social distancing and COVID.

    1. Thank you! It was great to be able to curate an exhibit during this time and explore the different options available to us.

  16. The digital exhibit is a fantastic resource and a great way to display such an interesting project! Thank you for sharing your work.

  17. What an interesting project Devon! It really showcases how we need to be careful how we filter our interpretations of art. In any of the artworks, did you know anything about the artists? If so, did you see any differences in how the relationships were portrayed by male and female artists?

    1. Thank you Marloes. Unfortunately there wasn’t any information on the artists that I could find, but the scholarship does suggest that the majority of the artists would have been male. However, we should not eliminate women’s role as artists!

  18. Devon, I’m so incredibly proud of you and all of your hard work here! What a gorgeous project and exhibit and what a timely and important critical dimension.
    Congratulations on this achievement and on your award! Kudos!
    Prof. Navarro-Farr

    1. Thank you Dr. Navarro-Farr! I could not have done it without you and all your help!

  19. Congratulations Devon!! The digital exhibit is amazing and the topic is very interesting!!

  20. Great job, informative and interesting. So good to know that it is finished and your passion for your IS shows through! Congratulations on the award.

  21. This was an incredibly interesting topic and your exhibit is wonderful! Congratulations Devon!

  22. Congratulations on this major achievement and the award, Devon! The digital exhibit also looks impressive. What did you find most exciting about this project?

    Wish you all the best in the future plans!

    1. Thank you! I was most excited about making the digital exhibit because I knew it was a unique, challenging and fun way to display my work. I was also excited because female homoeroticism gets looked over a lot, so being able to add to that corpus of material was exciting.

  23. Congratulations, Devon! I really enjoyed getting to learn more about your IS!

  24. Your project is fantastic! This is the first time I have experienced a digital art exhibit, and I think this unique approach to your IS is a great way to expand everyone’s knowledge, not just on your topic but many others around the world. Your project is a great contribution to the art history and archaeology space, and I hope you can find ways to continue research on this project in your future. Congratulations, Devon! So proud of you, and I hope you are proud of your IS, too.

  25. Congratulations, Devon! I’m so glad to have the chance to learn about your project and visit your digital exhibit. This is meaningful, rich, and creative work. And I love the exhibit. Well done!

  26. BRAVA, Devon! I enjoyed your digital exhibit….such a wonderful way to present the work. It was my privilege to announce your symposium award for digital critical engagement. Well deserved!

    1. Thank you so much Dean Hernandez. I am honored to have received the digital critical engagement award!

  27. Congratulations! Your project is so creative and interesting, I enjoyed reading about it!

  28. Kudos Devon! I really enjoyed the digital exhibit and the summary of your research. It is thought-provoking and underscores the importance of “independent” in IS. Thanks for reminding us that conventional wisdom can sometimes be misleading…congratulations!

  29. We really all are a little bit gay! Excellent job Devon, I can’t wait to go back to the museums…now I’m going to look at the Greek art and quietly whisper “they’re probably in love”

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