Mirrors Vs Windows
Expanded Visions: March 8th 2017 at The Leslie Lohman Museum ( SOHO, NYC) Spring 2017. The collection showed more than 100 pieces from Japan, China, Greece, Russia, Italy, London and the USA.
To me, this exhibit hits home to me. It gave me a sense of reason and purpose. However, once I saw a few pieces, I had no doubt why my boss sent me to this collection. Send the queer writer to a queer exhibit, “he will like that (sinister laugh)”. But who else could understand the journey past and present of what it is to be gay; than an open gay black male.
In 2017, we all look for who and what we are. This collection to me, is an attempt to claim ones identity and a sense of sexual freedom. These works, tell the tragic story of artist (s) silenced by the tragic Pre and Post AIDS epidemic.
This exhibit ” address century of evolving social systems in which public issues and debate sparked a rich cultured queer artistic practice, invoking the expressive power of identity in visual culture.” This exhibit speaks specifically about the queer experience. The art collection transcends race, age, and sex. Being gay is not just for one class or one group of person. In today’s society, we need a sense of culture and heritage. As well, as a political voice and force; we need to define and redefine the terms for gender, gender sex role and what is queer and not. This viewing to me, is the window into the gay experience. It is SO important to connect with the past, present ad future.
There always were queer artists in NYC. But there was no place to openly present your life story both good or bad, passion, and craft in NYC in 1960-1990. Gay censorship and the “gay cancer”, did not make matters any better for these artist who just wanted a platform to tell their story. Art is supposed to be anything you can get away. It is hard to have a voice when you have no voice or a stage to SCREAM. The Leslie Lohman Museum, is the not only New York, but the world first and only museum focused on the identity and what it is to be LGBT.
Over all, what I took from these lost and abandon artist voices, was we need to empowered to love and find our identity. The collection may shock some. But the root of the museum will allow those to find some comfort. The Leslie Lohman Museum, was created after several attack on the LGBT community (Legally, Physically and Emotionally). People wanted a window to this forbidden world. This exhibit is both a mirror and window
Window: These stories encrypted on canvas to be a timeless witness are to empowered and inspired others to live in the now
Mirror: Any queer person can personally relate to a certain piece of the collection).
Art should connect and be a common ground for the youth and scholars. We should dare to dream in the tomorrow, with the rooted knowledge of the past. These artists truly wanted to create a world or a place where people could be themselves and find an inner peace at that.
Featured in this article are some of the raw emotional pieces that I felt spoke to me and embodied the overall theme of the showing. However there were two that hit me like a brick:
“Are you a Boy or a Girl?”
This piece is actually called ” Fierce Pussy ”
We, as a society, try to make sense of what is in front of us. Everything has to have a rhyme and reason and title. Why must we or any one conform to society rules and regulation? Gender labels, do not define who we are every day or the experience and struggle we face. Most importantly one’s sexual position.
“The Blackend Face” [ Del LaGrace Volcano ]
This to me piece was a double reality checker. As a black America male,we know how the blackened face was a means by the white class to belittle blacks and make blacks look as less human as possible. I feel as being queer, we have to pretend who we are not, just to fit in and to have a sense of normality. At times, to fit in we belittle more openly queer persons, just so we can fit in. Just like the whites did to the black Negros in Jim Crow,
“The Thinking Penis”
I so loved this piece. Not because it was a penis (or maybe it was). But the idea of a penis actually thinking what is my purpose besides pissing. This poor penis was confused on if its home is inside of a male body or a female cavity. After looking at the painting, it made me think: Where does the penis goes and where does my penis want to go?
Special Thanks To:
Rob Huge Rosen
The Leslie-Lohman Museum