In a culture where vision reigns supreme, identity tends to describe how one sees oneself and how one is seen by others. Visual art not only records and produces identities, but also pictures relationships of power between them. This principle anchors the art history courses that Cyle Metzger (he/him, they/them) teaches in the Art Department at Bradley. These courses range from global surveys of art to special topics courses that address issues of race, nationalism, ethnicity as well as gender, disability, and class in the history of art. Cyle's research investigates how marginalized identities—especially those of transgender people—have been made to appear (or disappear) in art. Because transgender people do not fit neatly within fixed gender categories, art history that follows troubling binary logics of male/female can make transgender figures difficult to discuss. Thus, Cyle looks to interdisciplinary methods of transgender, intersex, queer, and disability studies when considering sex, gender, and disability in art. This approach produces new insights into how hierarchies of gendered embodiment that organize US-American culture appear in art. Furthermore, Cyle's work also demonstrates how the visual and material information that art objects contain gives critical access to aspects of transgender history that are not yet written.
Cyle earned his PhD in Art History with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Stanford University and a MA in Art History from the University of California, Riverside. He entered the field of art history through studio art, studying interdisciplinary art as an undergraduate at Bennington College and as a graduate student in the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art.