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May 28, 2019

9 Exhibitions to Check out During Pride Month

Whether you’re a visitor or a local, WorldPride 2019 will be a great time to visit museums, many of which are marking the occasion with Pride-themed exhibits. Below are nine exhibits worth your while during WorldPride.

Stonewall 50 at New-York Historical Society

Eugene Gordon, ACT UP activists at Pride March, 1988
Eugene Gordon, ACT UP activists at Pride March, 1988. New-York Historical Society Library

June 2019 marks the 50-year anniversary since the Stonewall Riots in New York, which sparked the modern LGBTQ movement. New-York Historical Society will release two exhibitions and an installation in honor of Pride Month. The vibrant LGBTQ nightlife scene in the city will be explored in Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall. The history of gay bars and clubs reveals the community-building, political activism, and refuge from prejudice that these establishments provided. The development of New York’s lesbian community will be examined in By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, curated by the Lesbian Herstory Archives Graphic Committee. In a new installation called Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride, images from fifty years’ worth of Pride Marches will accompany a timeline of key moments in LGBTQ history. May 24-September 22, 2019. 170 Central Park W, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org

Fred W. McDarrah at Museum of the City of New York

Photographer Fred W. McDarrah created an exhaustive archive of photographs throughout his tenure at The Village Voice. His images capture the influential period from the 1950s to the early 1970s, rife with political and cultural upheaval like the Beat era to the counterculture of the 1960s to the Stonewall uprising of 1969. McDarrah also photographed famous New York figures like Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, plus grassroots political events around gay rights, anti-Vietnam War sentiment, and the women’s movement. Fred W. McDarrah: Voice of the Village opens June 6, 2019 at the Museum of the City of New York. 1220 5th Ave., 212-534-1672, mcny.org

Mapplethorpe Now at Guggenheim Museum

Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1980. Gelatin silver print, 35.9 x 35.7 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 93.4289 © The Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now will show the groundbreaking work of gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The prolific artist captured the images of famous folks like his friend Patti Smith, as well as striking self-portraits and images of the S&M scene that drew controversy during Mapplethorpe’s lifetime. This exhibition will also showcase artists who succeeded Robert Mapplethorpe, portraying self and/or the body with similar frankness and beauty. These artists will include Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, and Paul Mpagi Sepuya. This exhibition runs January 25-July 24, 2019, closes briefly, and reopens July 24, 2019-January 5, 2020 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 1071 5th Ave., 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org

Camp at The Met Fifth Avenue

The Met Gala might be the first Monday in May, but the Costume Institute exhibition it celebrates will be on view during Pride Month. This popular summer attraction at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be themed around the idea of “camp” this year. To be campy is to exaggerate a style for theatrical and/or comedic effect. As the exhibit will show, designers from Gaultier to Gucci have employed camp aesthetics in their fashion lines. This exhibition is based in part on Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on “Camp.” Camp: Notes on Fashionruns May 9-September 8 at The Met Fifth Avenue. 1000 5th Ave., (212) 535-7710, metmuseum.org

Joan Miró at MoMA

Joan Miró. The Birth of the World
Joan Miró. The Birth of the World. Montroig, late summer–fall 1925. Oil on canvas, 8′ 2 3/4″ x 6′ 6 3/4″ (250.8
x 200 cm). Acquired through an anonymous fund, the Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Slifka and Armand G. Erpf
Funds, and by gift of the artist. © 2018 Successió Miró/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Surrealist Joan Miró painted The Birth of the World in 1925; this piece came to define his career and launch him into new methods of abstraction in his painting practice. This exhibition showcases the title painting among other seminal works by the artist, including other paintings, works on paper, prints, illustrated books, and objects. Miró’s debt to poetry and relationships with contemporary writers will also be explored. Joan Miró: Birth of the World runs February 24 until June 15, when the Museum of Modern Art closes for renovation. 11 W 53rd St., 212-708-9400, moma.org

Spilling Over at the Whitney Museum

The same era that sparked the LGBTQ rights movement also saw significant developments in painting. The artists of the 1960s, considering the rise of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, grappled with uses of painted color that would confront current issues around race, gender, perception, and space. The saturated and sometimes hallucinatory use of colors throughout this exhibition will expose how certain social conditioning influences perception. Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s will also touch on the concurrent civil and women’s rights movements of the 1960s, of which many exhibited artists were a part. The exhibition opens March 2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 99 Gansevoort St., 212-570-3600, whitney.org

Art After Stonewall at Leslie Lohman Museum


Gay Liberation FrontImage, 1970, Silver gelatin print, 18 x 12 in. Gift of the Peter Hujar Archive, LLC. Collection of Leslie-Lohman Museum

Fifty years of LGBTQ art will be surveyed and celebrated at Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art for Pride Month. Art After Stonewall will examine the openly LGBTQ artists that made strides in the world art scene after the Stonewall movement in 1969. Featured artists will include Nan Goldin, Holly Hughes, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tim Miller, Catherine Opie, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition, which will extend to the NYU Grey Art Gallery, will organize around themes like Coming Out, Sexual Outlaws, The Uses of the Erotic, Gender and Body, Things are Queer, AIDS and Activism, and We’re Here. Art After Stonewall will be on view April 21 through July 21, 2019 at Leslie Lohman Museum for Gay and Lesbian Art. 26 Wooster St., 212-431-2609, leslielohman.org

The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel at The Rubin Museum

We may not think of intentions as sources of power, but our intentions define the quality of any action. We can use our intentions to empower us to create positive change for ourselves and others. Inspired by Tibetan prayer wheels, The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel brings together select examples of traditional and contemporary art to illuminate the relationship between our intentions, commitments, and actions. Prayer wheels are ritual objects containing thousands, even millions of written prayers and mantras.

adoptions from the heart
Photo credit: Asya Gorovits

The clockwise rotation of the wheels—set in motion by the power of a hand or the elements—is believed to release the positive energy of the prayers into the world.

Taking the Tibetan prayer wheel as a metaphor for the power to create positive change, the exhibition highlights key ideas related to prayer wheels and their processes of creation, activation, and meaning. International artists Monika Bravo, Alexandra Dementieva, Youdhisthir Maharjan, Charwei Tsai, and Scenocosme’s Grégory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt take the Tibetan prayer wheel on a conceptual spin, and their works manifest in visible and tangible forms the power of intention, commitment, repetition, accumulation, and belief. 150 W 17th St., 212-620-5000 rubinmuseum.org

The Jim Henson Exhibition at Museum of the Moving Image

Jim Henson with muppets
Jim Henson with Muppets. Image courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image

The lovers, the dreamers, and you can all enjoy The Jim Henson Exhibition, which features Kermit, Big Bird, and Elmo, in addition to your other favorite Muppets and Sesame Street characters. Henson not only created these iconic puppet characters, but Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. A man of boundless creativity, Henson began his career as a teenager with a short television program called Sam and Friends, clips of which are shown at the museum. You too can make a puppeteering film at this exhibit and relish Henson’s legacy. This exhibition is ongoing at Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. 36-01 35th Ave., 718-777-6888movingimage.us

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