The artists Patrick Hennessy and Henry Robertson Craig met as students in Dundee in 1934. They became inseparable, and aside from the period 1939-46 when they were separated by the War, they spent the rest of their lives together.
As part of LGBT History Month, University of Dundee Museums will host this online talk by Seán Kissane will introduce their work, the fascinating times they lived in and the people they knew. It ranges from Dundee and Dublin to Soho, Tangier and New York.
We encounter figures like the Two Roberts, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Bowen and the Beat Poets. We will see astonishingly frank accounts of queer life in the mid-20th century that touches on issues like coming out, intimacy and loneliness, right through to cruising in saunas and encounters with sex workers.
The talk will be prefaced with a short presentation by University of Dundee museum curator Matthew Jarron, who will provide context for Hennessy and Craig’s student experiences by describing the Art College in Dundee in the 1930s.
Seán Kissane is Curator of Exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin. He describes his practice as ‘curating the edges’, producing deeply researched exhibitions focussed on the work of female and queer artists whose work has been critically neglected.
These projects have included major touring exhibitions such as the retrospectives for Derek Jarman, Leonora Carrington, and Mary Swanzy. In 2016 he presented the critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Patrick Hennessy: De Profundis’, the first queer reading of Irish modernism.
He is currently a PhD candidate at Gradcam, TU Dublin, undertaking research into queer art exhibited in Ireland during and after the Second World War, examining how some Irish artists presented divergent images of sexualities that countered prevailing orthodoxies.