LGBTQ art exhibit lights up galleries from Boston to Berlin


As a cautious world continues to reopen and a sense of normalcy begins to return to its art museums, a lively summer lineup of unrestricted exhibitions by and about queer artists helps ensure that the imbalances exposed by the pandemic remain at the center of the scene, and that the urgency which surrounds them is not lost. Highlighting themes such as activism, racism, ageism, ableism, innovation and intimacy, these shows help envision a future informed by past progress, but still aware of current challenges and unafraid of continue to evolve.

Fotografiska / New York

Organized last year to honor the 100th birthday of Touko Laaksonen (better known to the world as Tom of Finland) by Fotografiska Stockholm and the Tom of Finland Foundation, this study exhibition reveals his process of working through the photographic portraits which served as the raw material for many of his famous homoerotic drawings. Until August 20

Tom from Finland, Tom & Tom Katt, 1984.Tom Foundation of Finland

Schwules Museum / Berlin

Intimacy is one of the central lingering themes of queer art, and here an entire exhibit is devoted to showcasing some of the many ways – both theme and format – that queer intimacy is represented. in contemporary art. The show features over 30 pieces from iconic global queer artists such as AA Bronson, Annie Liebovitz, Slava Mogutin, and Zanele Muholi. Until August 30

“Intimacy: New Queer Art from Berlin and Beyond”.Ralf Rühmeier / Schwules Museum

Institute of Contemporary Art / Los Angeles

Groundbreaking queer performance artist Ron Athey finally gets his due in this study of his work and career, in which his highly visceral performances and transformative use of his own body as a site of trauma, resistance, sexuality and death. religious ecstasy have earned it a central place. in the Culture Wars of the 1990s – and has since heavily influenced a generation of artists and viewers. Until September 5

Installation view, Queer Communion: Ron Athey. Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, until September 5, 2021.Jeff McLane / ICA LA

Royal Academy of Arts / London

In his vivid dream-like paintings which have been compared to the works of Titian, Gauguin and Manet, Kenyan Michael Armitage challenges cultural assumptions and explores themes such as sexuality and civil unrest, bringing an unsettling beauty to otherwise ugly situations. . A graduate of the Royal Academy, Armitage returns here to his alma mater with 15 large-scale paintings from the past six years. Until September 19

Michael Armitage, Pathos and the Twilight of Slow Motion, 2019. Oil on canvas of Lubugo bark, 330 x 170 cm.Théo Christelis / White Cube

Phoenix Art Museum

The career and wide impact of innovative Austrian-born fashion pioneer Rudi Gernreich – who created legendary body pieces such as the monokini and thong, and who was also the 1950s partner of human rights activist homosexual Harry Hay – are explored in this collection of over 80 sets, along with original sketches, personal documents, photographs and newly filmed oral histories, collected by the Skirball Cultural Center in LA. Until September 26

Peggy Moffitt wearing a George Sand pantsuit designed by Rudi Gernreich, fall 1967 collection.William Claxton / Courtesy of Demont Photo Management & Fahey / Klein Gallery Los Angeles

The Morgan Library & Museum / New York

The first 15 formative years of renowned multimedia artist Shahzia Sikander’s creative journey are celebrated in this magnificent show, which follows her path from pioneering the deconstruction of traditional handwritten painting in her native Pakistan, to an art student in Providence, Rhode Island and Houston, to a young artist in New York City, a period in which she delved into the themes – including gender, sexuality, race, class and culture – that still shape her work. today. Until September 26

Eye-I-ing These Armorial Bearings, 1989-97, and Sly Offering, 2001.Shahzia Sikander / Courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York.

New York Historical Society

The magical queer community that thrived on Fire Island’s Cherry Grove in the 1950s is featured in this free (albeit with a timed entry ticket) outdoor exhibit in the backyard of the New-York Historical Society, featuring some 70 enlarged photographs and additional ephemera of the Cherry Grove. Archive collection. The museum, New York’s oldest, announced last week that it would expand to include America’s LGBTQ + museum by its 200th anniversary in 2024. Until October 11

Outside Bea Greer’s house, Bea’s Brunch, 1951.Cherry Grove Archives Collection / Gift of Harold Seeley

MoMA PS1 / New York

Brooklyn-born video artist Gregg Bordowitz began merging his work and AIDS activism in the mid-1980s, documenting the many protests he attended as a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, and creating video portraits of himself. and other people living with HIV and AIDS. This first comprehensive look at his influential career also includes his more recent work, which explores the connection between his religious, sexual, political and cultural identities. Until October 11

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Fast Trip Long Drop. 1993. Video (color, sound).Gregg Bordowitz / Video database at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Bronx Museum / New York

In the first section of this powerful two-part exhibition, Tennessee-born, Harlem-based artist Wardell Milan uses new works on paper to explore the subtle normalization of white supremacy and racial violence in America. The second part of the show uses a site-specific structure – along with performances choreographed by Zachary Tye Richardson and sculptures designed by Billy Ray Morgan – to explore the concept of “safe space” for marginalized communities. Until October 24

Wardell Milan. Timmerman’s Kitchen, New Canaan, Connecticut, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and David Nolan Gallery

Blaffer Art Museum / Houston

This micro-investigation into the work of chameleonic visual and performance artist Martine Gutierrez presents her cheeky deconstructivism of glitzy conventions such as fashion and advertising to explore themes around gender, race and identity, often inspired by by the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures and their deities embodying the duality and fluidity of genres. Until October 24

View of the exhibition installation, Martine Gutierrez: Radiant Cut at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston.Sean Fleming / Courtesy of the Blaffer Art Museum

Museum of Fine Arts / Boston

In this verified, age-embracing tribute to the classic Scopitone film reels of the 50s and 60s – a precursor to music videos that were played in special jukeboxes at cocktail lounges nationwide, and glorified the young male dominated white cisgender culture – Samantha Nye recreates old shot-for-shot shorts with older queer actors, rejecting ageist and ableist definitions of sexuality and eroticism, and expanding our view of love, gender, agency and belonging. Until October 31

Photo from Visual Pleasure / Jukebox Cinema – DADDY (Verse 4), 2018.Samantha Nye / Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

George Eastman Museum / Rochester, New York

Photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre spent five years traveling across America documenting the life stories of transgender and gender non-conforming older people for this vast and captivating collection of portraits and interviews (also fully accessible in a 360 virtual tour on the exhibition webpage) that cover the human spectrum of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class and location. Until January 2, 2022

Hank, 76, and Samm, 67, North Little Rock, Ark., 2015.Jess T. Dugan / Barrett Barrera projects

Museum of Contemporary Art / Los Angeles

The hauntingly beautiful works of New York artist Jennifer Packer, appearing here in a first West Coast museum display case, include intimate portraits of family and friends playing with the sense of dimension and of the viewer’s perception. Packer’s works, which also include politically charged still lifes, redefine classical conventions in contemporary light to imbue them with new meaning. Until February 21, 2022

Jennifer Packer, Idle Hands, 2021, Oil on canvas.Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, Corvi-Mora, London

RISD / Providence Museum, Rhode Island

Much like the Schwules Museum’s “Intimacy” exhibit, this group exhibit explores the power and meaning of intimate relationships in queer art and features over 30 pieces (including several new acquisitions for the museum’s permanent collection) from artists such as Salman Toor, Nicole Eisenman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Catherine Opie and Paul Cadmus. July 17 – March 13, 2022

Norma and Eyenga, Minneapolis, 1998.Catherine Opie / Courtesy of Regen Projects

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Art / Miami

The photographs of Michigan-raised and now Miami-based Robert Andy Coombs document his own experiences at the rarely seen intersection of sexuality and disability, challenging the preconceptions of ableists and calling the viewer to a a story that is at once tender, playful, sensual and revealing. August 14 – November 6

Wood nymphs, 2019.Robert Andy Coombs

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