Outside the Box offers a roster of gallery-based talks given by a variety of guest speakers over the course of a season. In this series, lecturers with diverse backgrounds and affinities addressed the New Museum’s summer exhibition, “The Keeper,” in forty-five- to sixty-minute presentations that took place exclusively in the Museum’s galleries. As a way to emphasize the Museum’s strong commitment to new art and new ideas, Outside the Box Gallery Talks are open to the public and are intended to provide participants with multidisciplinary perspectives on New Museum exhibitions. To this end, lecturers speak about the exhibition or themes emergent in select works from the various positions they occupy—be they academic, personal, political, or otherwise. With their distinct individual relationships to the artists and works on view, lecturers engage in rich investigations that illuminate and probe the Museum’s exhibition programs.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen is Professor of English and Director of the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. His award-winning research examines strange things that challenge the imagination—phenomena that seem alien and intimate at the same time. He is especially interested in what monsters, foreigners, queer people, inhuman forces, objects, and matter that won’t stay put reveal about the cultures that dream about, fear, and desire them. Cohen is widely published in the fields of medieval studies, monster theory, and ecocriticism.