The first-ever exhibition to extensively survey art of the LGBTQ civil rights movement, presented by NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, organized by the Columbus Museum of Art.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings, Art after Stonewall, 1969–1989 is a long-awaited and groundbreaking survey that features over 200 works of art and related visual materials exploring the impact of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) liberation movement on visual culture. Presented in two parts—at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art—the exhibition features artworks by openly LGBTQ artists such as Vaginal Davis, Louise Fishman, Nan Goldin, Lyle Ashton Harris, Barbara Hammer, Holly Hughes, Greer Lankton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Joan Snyder, and Andy Warhol. On view at the Grey Art Gallery from April 24 through July 20, 2019 and at the Leslie-Lohman Museum from April 24 through July 21, 2019, the exhibition is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art.
“Art after Stonewall resists systematic classifications or traditional notions of what is a work of art. Crucial queer cultural practices were created beyond the institutions of the art world,” observes curator Jonathan Weinberg. “Cutting across disciplines and hierarchies of media and taste, this exhibition mixes performance, photographs, painting, sculpture, film clips, video, and music with historic documents and images taken from magazines, newspapers, and television.”
The Stonewall Uprisings, in historian Martin Duberman’s words, “are now generally taken to mark the birth of the modern gay and lesbian political movement… As such, ‘Stonewall’ has become an empowering symbol of global proportions.” Much has been written on the impact of the LGBTQ movement on American society and yet, fifty years after Stonewall, key artists in that story and their works are little known. Art after Stonewall brings together an unprecedented number of artists and activists in dialogue with LGBTQ issues. Art after Stonewall juxtaposes works—many of which elude categorization—and music with historical documents and images taken from magazines, newspapers, and television. In fact, the ambition and scope of the exhibition is so grand, it is presented across two New York venues, loosely divided chronologically. The presentation at the Leslie-Lohman Museum concentrates on work from the first decade after the events of Stonewall, and the Grey Art Gallery focuses on the second decade.
Grey Art Gallery Director Lynn Gumpert adds, “Considering the Grey is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, we are thrilled to be joining with Leslie-Lohman to celebrate the diverse group of artists and activists who intersected with and contributed to the modern LGBTQ movement. Art after Stonewall is a crucial contribution to our growing understanding of that watershed moment in civil rights.”
Art after Stonewall is organized in seven sections. The first, Coming Out, explores how post-Stonewall LGBTQ artists addressed the imperative to reject hiding their sexual identity. Sexual Outlaws extends the concept of visibility to works of art that radically challenge mainstream concepts of decorum and decency, considering artworks with blatant sexual content from a new vantage point. Inspired by Audre Lorde’s eponymous 1983 essay, The Uses of the Erotic examines how LGBTQ artists re-conceptualized both sex and the sensual. Consistent with Lorde’s view that women’s sense of the erotic is not defined by genital contact, artworks in this section convey a body-like physicality and sensuality. Gender and Body reveals how cross-dressing and gender-bending influenced art of the 1970s and 80s, and features works by artists who employed gender as performance as they negotiated a new world with more fluid identities and sexualities. Things Are Queer explores how the concept of queerness was developed as a way to resist categorizing people as straight or gay, female or male. If Stonewall represented liberation and the imperative to come out, new generations of LGBTQ artists were increasingly suspicious of categories. AIDS and Activism observes how an epidemic that was initially viewed as a disease of homosexuals affected the gay community, artistic communities, and the world in general. The works in the final section We’re Here celebrate how, by the end of the 1980s, LGBTQ people had permeated and influenced all aspects of everyday life: queerness could no longer be marginalized in American culture.
As Gonzalo Casals, Executive Director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum, notes, “We are very proud to present this important exhibition on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots. We believe that shows like Art after Stonewall play an important role in bringing visibility to our communities, expanding the understanding of the history of our city, and empowering newer generations of queer individuals to continue to fight for LGBTQ civil rights. Our collaboration with NYU’s Grey Art Gallery allows us to expand the reach of the exhibition’s message beyond our community, as LGBTQ history is New York history.”
The exhibition is curated by artist and art historian Jonathan Weinberg, currently a critic at the Yale School of Art, in concert with Tyler Cann, CMA’s Head of Exhibitions and Pizzuti Curator of Contemporary Art, and Drew Sawyer, the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum (formerly Associate Curator of Photography at CMA). The exhibition opens in New York City at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University (April 24–July 20, 2019) and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (April 24–July 21, 2019), before being presented at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami, Florida (September 14, 2019–January 6, 2020), and the Columbus Museum of Art (February 14–May 17, 2020) in Columbus, Ohio. Major support for the exhibition is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Keith Haring Foundation, Inc. Key support for the presentation at the Grey Art Gallery is provided by Deloitte. Generous funding is provided by the Charina Foundation and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. Additional support is provided by Gregory C. Albanis and Richard Harrison; Stephen Figge and Ian Alteveer; the Abby Weed Grey Trust; and the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends. Funding for the presentation at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has been received in part from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.