Born and raised in Germany, educated in New York City (BA, MA, PhD), Harry Heuser is a writer, exhibition curator and lecturer.
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.
To this end, I have developed interdisciplinary 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.
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.
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.
Scheduled for publication later in 2021 is the anthology Audionarratology: Lessons from Radio Drama (Ohio State University Press). My chapter, titled “‘There ain’t no sense to nothin”: Serial Storytelling, Radio Consciousness, and the Gothic of Audition,” 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.
Another area of interest for me is the relationship between art history and curating; I am teaching both at Aberystwyth University. Most recent in a series of exhibitions I stage annually with a group of undergraduate students of my curating module is Inconvenient Objects, an exhibition that reexamines the collections of the School of Art at Aberystwyth University in order to draw attention to the role and responsibility that cultural institutions have to address the realities of Empire, slavery and white supremacism as manifested in some of the items they display or else choose to keep out of sight.
Drawing entirely on the School’s vast collections of prints, paintings, photographs and sculpture, the exhibition seeks to engage in institutional critique and the need for sensitive and contextual interpretation of objects with challenging pasts that are reflective of outmoded, contested yet often naturalised views on art and cultures. The exhibition was closed to the public for nearly two months and is now advertised with its title in quotation marks, presumably to mitigate against the ‘reputational risk’ that it has been argued by management to pose.
Prior to the pandemic, I began working on an as yet untitled exhibition of images I snap with my phone camera of the sidewalks of Manhattan. Titled “Asphalt Expressionism,” the project builds on my exhibition Travelling Through: Landscapes/Landmarks/Legacies (previously on view at the School of Art Museum and Galleries (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. I expect the project to resume in 2022 and to culminate in an exhibition at the School of Art.
After some delay, research has also begun on a monograph on the painter-printmaker Harry Morley, to be co-authored with my husband, Robert Meyrick.