‘Art After Stonewall’ Exhibit to be a Visual Tour of LGBT History

KEITH HARING, SAFE SEX, OCTOBER 20, 1985. Acrylic on canvas tarp. 116 x 116 inches (294.64 x 294.64 cm). © Keith Haring Foundation, • Photo of artist Martin Kreloff

Pride month officially ends June 30, but the celebration honoring Stonewall Uprising’s 50thanniversary will continue in South Florida through the beginning of 2020. 

Art After Stonewall: 1969 – 1989,” currently on display in New York City for World Pride, arrives Sept. 14 at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIUin Southwest Miami-Dade. The exhibit, featuring works by artists including Keith Haring, Annie Leibovitz and Robert Mapplethorpe, will be on view during Art Basel in December and through Jan. 5, 2020.

“The groundbreaking exhibition is the first national museum show of its kind to survey the impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on visual culture, during the pivotal two decades after the Stonewall Riots, as the first Pride marches took flight – a bold visual history of 20 years in American queer life,”  according to a museum news release.

More than 200 works of art will be on exhibit, including plenty of queer erotica.

“It’s about gayness, homosexuality. It’s about the erotic. That’s the charm of the show. It doesn’t seek to hide that. It’s one of the driving narratives of the exhibit,” Frost Art Museum director Jordana Pomeroy said.

“I don’t want to be reductive and say this is an ‘adult show.’ Some will want to take children,” Pomeroy said. “It depends on how you raise your kids. This is a new world. This show could only happen now.”

The exhibit “makes it clear that even though Stonewall happened it was not overnight,” she said, adding that “the history, the narrative of gay art history has paralleled heterosexuality. The women have been marginalized. … It’s a reflection of gay life itself.”

Pomeroy said that through the exhibit, “you learn not just about the artists, but of gay life – scholarly views about an emerging queer subculture.”

“The exhibition stands on its own. It’s full. It’s going to take people coming back a couple of times to take it all in.”

The Frost museum, at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique Campus, is partnering throughout the run with Unity Coalition| Coalición Unida, a Miami-based Hispanic LGBT-rights group. 

Unity Coalition’s Oct. 12 gala benefit will be held at the museum during the organization’s ninth annual Orgullo arts festival celebrating Hispanic LGBT pride.

One featured artifact that will resonate strongly in South Florida: Artist Martin Kreloff’s original poster for Miami’s first White Party AIDS fundraiser at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in 1985.

“Art After Stonewall: 1969 – 1989 is a retrospective whose purpose is to illuminate how queer artists reacted to Stonewall and the political struggle for equal rights that ensued. Tragically, the AIDS epidemic is a central aspect of this struggle, and the piece of mine that is included in the exhibit illustrates my nascent activism against this threat,” said Kreloff, who lived in Miami during that period.

“When I moved back to Miami in 1984, I was relocating from San Francisco, which of course was Ground Zero of the AIDS epidemic. I had witnessed first hand how the disease was mowing down young men in the prime of their lives. The epidemic had yet to get a foothold in South Florida, and when I tried to sound the alarm,  the Miami Chamber of Commerce's response was that the situation was too much of a political hot potato to address with any seriousness or funding,” Kreloff recalled.

“The only sane response to this apathy was for the gay community to rally and raise their own funds and create their own institutions to address this threat to our very existence. I am very proud to have been involved in the creation of the very first White Party, and am honored to have my poster for the fundraiser included in this exhibit.”

Kreloff, who now lives in Las Vegas, has an important message “for younger LGBTQ Miamians”interested in this exhibit:

“I invite you to come see how queer artists responded to the oppression of those times, and how we struggled to create a world where one could live a queer lifestyle with relative ease. My hope is that this next generation understands that we can never take these new-found liberties for granted - all it takes is a change in the political winds, and all this progress could be whisked away.”

IF YOU GO

“Art After Stonewall: 1969 – 1989” runs Sept. 14 through Jan. 5, 2020, at Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami. 

The exhibition was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art and features seven sections: Coming Out, Sexual Outlaws, The Uses of the Erotic, Gender and Body, Things are Queer, AIDS and Activism, and We’re Here. The show was curated by the artist and art historian Jonathan Weinberg, with Tyler Cann and Drew Sawyer.

The exhibit is made possible at the Frost Art Museum FIU by Bank of America and the Funding Arts Network. Additional support has been provided by Our Fund, an LGBT community foundation, and the Art after Stonewall Circle of Friends.


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