Art Hole: Your Monthly Queer Art Roundup

Art Hole is Gay Times’ monthly roundup of the queer art you need to see around the UK, and #CultureQueers will certainly have their fill this month, with a range of exhibitions exploring queer art history. From Tate Britain to the National Portrait Gallery, museums across the nation are flying their queer flags with pride, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

Curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley

Featured Exhibition


Until 1 October 2017, Tate Britain, London

Queer British Art 1861-1967, Tate Britain, London, Copyright: Tate Photography
Featuring: Robert Harper Pennington 1854-1920, Oscar Wilde c.1881, Oil paint on canvas
The door of Oscar Wilde’s cell at Reading Prison

Tate Britain’s Queer British Art 1861 – 1967, the first exhibition dedicated to queer British art, presents work from the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy in 1861 to the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. Featuring works by major artists such as Francis Bacon, Keith Vaughan, Gluck, Claude Cahun and Cecil Beaton alongside queer ephemera, personal photographs, film and magazines, the show explores shifting opinions and expressions of gender and sexuality during this period. This must-see show provides an opportunity to experience queer histories recounted via visual culture, to reflect on the progress made in Britain during the last 156 years and to honour the pioneers that paved the way.

Angus McBean (1904-1990)
Quentin Crisp, 1941
Bromide print
National Portrait Gallery (London, UK)
© Estate of Angus McBean / National Portrait Gallery, London

More shows to see


Until 6 May 2017, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

Sam Vale, Latent, 2017 ©Untitled image courtesy of SEAS

Artist Sam Vale has reworked photographs drawn from the South East Archive of Seaside Photography to illustrate the lost stories of queer life during the illegality of homosexuality, reimagining hidden histories and exploring the possibilities of gay life by the sea.


Until 6 May 2017, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

Claude Cahun, Self Portrait, 1928 Courtesy and copyright Jersey Heritage

French photographer Claude Cahun (1894–1954) was born Lucy Schwab and adopted the pseudonym in 1917. Her self portraits, in which she appears in many guises, are an exploration of identity, pushing the boundaries of gender and sexuality. This Hayward Touring exhibition is in collaboration with Jersey Heritage and was first presented at the Women of the World Festival 2015, Southbank Centre.


Until 29 May 2017, National Portrait Gallery, London

Me as Cahun holding a mask of my face by Gillian Wearing, 2012; © Gillian Wearing, courtesy Maureen Paley, London; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

Drawing together over 100 works by Claude Cahun (1894-1954) and British contemporary artist Gillian Wearing (b.1963) in a conversation around gender and identity using the language of masquerade and performance. The exhibition’s curator, Sarah Howgate, says: ‘An exhibition which investigates Claude Cahun’s intriguing and complex explorations of identity alongside the equally challenging and provocative self-images of Gillian Wearing seems particularly timely In the year that marks fifty years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.’

I am in training don’t kiss me by Claude Cahun c. 1927; Jersey Heritage Collections © Jersey Heritage


Extended until 21 May 2017, Tate Modern, London

Man Ray 1890-1976
Glass Tears 1932
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
229 x 298 mm
The Sir Elton John Photography collection
© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

Due to popular demand, the exhibition of photography from Sir Elton John’s private collection has been extended by 2 weeks. The exhibition provides a chance to see one of the world’s greatest private collections of photography, drawn from the classic modernist period of the 1920s–50s, as well as a glimpse into the life of this iconic collector.

‘Art is really a reflection of the times we live in, each musical movement from the beginning of the twentieth century, from ragtime to traditional jazz, to big bands, to blues, to jazz, to rock and roll, country music, it reflects a time in people’s lives. Visual art does exactly the same.’ Exploring his passion for the relationship between art and music and inspired by the works in his own collection, Sir Elton John has created a playlist to accompany the exhibition, you can listen to his selected tracks here.



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