Art Hole is Gay Times’ monthly roundup of the queer art you need to see around the UK. This month, we dive into the rich subcultures in Britain and further afield that provided a safe haven for the queer community, the ‘hot queer photographic echo chamber’ of Wolfgang Tillmans, and objects of identity from as far back as 9,000BC. Yes, we’ve been here and been queer for millennia.
Curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley
Portraits from Clubland
As 2017 continues to bring political unrest and turmoil, May’s Art Hole explores the rich subculture of the 1980s and 90s in Britain and further afield, through Portraits from Clubland. Congregating in underground clubs like London’s Blitz, a group of wild and flamboyant creatives, expressing themselves via film, fashion, performance and music, would rise from the ashes of Thatcherite Britain. The club kid scene became a safe haven for the queer community and figures like Leigh Bowery, whose fashion and makeup pushed the boundaries of gender, were celebrated as heroes.
Until 24 September 2017, National Portrait Gallery, London
David Gwinnutt’s photography documents iconic figures from the London scene but his grainy black and white portraits take them out of the party context, presenting each sitter alone in the privacy of their own home. Derek Jarman, Gilbert & George and Boy George are included in this small but powerful and timely display at the National Portrait Gallery.
Until 14 May 2017, House of Illustration, London
Drawing live in fetish clubs, punk squats and on the performance scene of 1970-90s London, Berlin and New York, Jo Brocklehurst’s artwork is a unique record of subculture. Her vivid illustrations capture the subversive androgyny, creative experimentation and raw lust of clubland.
Museums in Britain continue to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, with:
11 May – 15 October 2017, British Museum, London
The display Desire Love Identity provides glimpses into LGBT+ experience across time and around the world through the British Museum’s collection via objects ranging from as early as 9000BC to the present day.
13 May – 8 September 2017, The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth has worked with members of the LGBT+ community to co-curate Refracted: Collection Highlights. The art and objects on display are selected from the museum’s permanent collection to reflect the colours of the rainbow flag.
Until 11 June, Tate Modern, London
Described as ‘a hot queer photographic echo chamber’ in Bob Henderson’s review of the exhibition for Gay Times, Turner-prize winning Tillmans’ first exhibition at Tate Modern pushes the boundaries of photographic form into presentations that include sculpture, music and immersive installation.