Born and raised in Germany, educated in New York City (BA, MA, PhD) and living in Wales, Harry Heuser is a writer, educator and exhibition curator.

Current and recent projects

In my writing, curating and teaching, I explore relationships between the popular and the personal, the multiple and the singular, the durable and the ephemeral, as well as between form and media.

My current exhibition Asphalt Expressionism: Mobile Phone Photography of NYC Pavements (School of Art, Aberystwyth University, 13 Feb. – 28 Apr. 2023), showcases large-scale digital prints of New York City’s scratched, streaked and splattered sidewalks – impressions of which were gathered during the curator’s monthlong return visit to the Big Apple in the autumn of 2022 – to consider contemporary mobile phone photography, the most common mode of capturing the mundane and memorable alike, in the contexts of canonical art and its histories.  In particular, the exhibition relates the visual culture of those stumbled-upon public spaces to the artworld of the 1950s and 1980s, of which New York City was widely held to be the capital.  

The exhibition takes two artist statements as an opening for this discussion. In 1958, the US American painter Allan Kaprow abandoned traditional media and called for a ‘new concrete art.’  Jackson Pollock, he argued, ‘left us at the point where we must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life.’  A few years later, in 1961, sculptor and installation artist Claes Oldenburg declared: ‘I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt,’ the ‘art of ice cream cones dropped on concrete.’ 

Autobiographical and interactive, Asphalt Expressionism invites reflections on the relationships between life, art and the museum environment. The project builds on my exhibition Travelling Through: Landscapes/Landmarks/Legacies (previously on view at the School of Art Museum and Galleries in 2018-19), which, along with paintings, prints, posters, and ceramics from the School’s collection, featured personal photographs charting my relationship with New York City from the mid-1980s to the present day.

Immediately following Asphalt Expressionism at the School of Art Museum and Galleries will be Crying, Bleeding, Kicking, Screaming: Prints by Marcelle Hanselaar from the School of Art Collection. It is the latest curatorial project to be undertaken with students of my undergraduate module Curating an Exhibition.

Of particular interest to me is the relationship between art history and curating. As Senior Lecture in Art History, I am teaching both at Aberystwyth University.  The undergraduate exhibitions draw exclusively from the collections of the School of Art Museum and Galleries at Aberystwyth University, providing opportunities for hands-on, primary research for students and staff, which I aim to facilitate in my role of Director of Research at the School.

As a collector of screen, stage, and radio related ephemera, which I have exhibited in our galleries, I am intrigued by ways in which mass-produced matter is invested with personal relevance, as well as by the motivations or reluctance of the collector to make a public display of a private passion.

More than academic pursuits, my engagement with the intersections of stage, screen, broadcasting and the printed image and word—particularly the liminality of what I termed the ‘immaterial culture’ of radio—is rooted in my queer experience and my sense of hybridity, dislocation and failure.

Aiming for decompartmentalisation and consolidation, I have developed transdisciplinary undergraduate modules such as Adaptation: Versions, Revisions and Cultural Renewal  and Gothic Imagination, which I teach at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University, in Wales.

Revisiting the subjects of PhD dissertation Etherized Victorians and my study Immaterial Culture: Literature, Drama and the American Radio Play, 1929-1954 from the perspective of an art historian, I contributed “A Forefront in the Aftermath? Recorded Sound and the State of Audio Play on Post-‘Golden Age’ US Network Radio” to the anthology Tuning in to the Neo-Avant-Garde (Manchester University Press, 2021). The essay expands on my previous research of radio’s so-called “golden age” by considering the state and status of US American radio plays, and the CBS Radio Workshop (1956-57), at the beginning of the television era. The starting point was a paper I delivered in November 2018 at the Tuning in to the Neo-Avant-Garde conference at Ghent University.

My essay “‘There ain’t no sense to nothin”: Serial Storytelling, Radio Consciousness, and the Gothic of Audition” has been published in the anthology Audionarratology: Lessons from Radio Drama (Ohio State University Press, 2021). The chapter aims to explore the alienating—or gothic—experience of taking in and responding to serial fiction created for radio decades ago but accessed belatedly through modern technology.

After some delay due to temporary lack of access to private archives, research has also begun on a monograph on the painter-printmaker Harry Morley, to be co-authored with Robert Meyrick.

For further updates on my life and activities, academic or otherwise, visit broadcastellan.

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