Because Pride: Queer Art Roundup
We love June because June means Pride, and Pride means a month saturated with super queer events. NYC Pride has been going strong since the Stonewall riots in 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn (a Greenwich village bar that was a hub for gay nightlife), setting off a string of riots that jettisoned NY gay culture to the forefront of the city’s brain.
The year after the Stonewall events, New York’s first Gay Pride Parade was held to commemorate the riots. This marked the beginning of Pride establishing itself as the loud, groovy, and politically-charged annual gig that became inexorably tied to the fabric of New York queer counterculture and activism. Today, what was the early “gay rights movement” has expanded into a broader LGBQT+ movement that’s as interested in dismantling gender and crushing the patriarchy as it is with earlier demands.
Thinking about the history of Pride and the strides it has taken (think AIDS activism in the eighties, and marriage equality in the nineties and aughts) also lends to reflection on how Pride can continue to evolve, namely to incorporate more intersectionality and allyship with broader issues of civil rights and social welfare. It’s worth looking to our neighbors in the great north, and thinking about why Black Lives Matter Toronto brought last year’s Toronto Pride march to a standstill in order to voice demands for greater commitment to and representation of the black LGBTQ+ community in Toronto Pride events. Food for thought.
There are moving parts to Pride, and even though it’s all rainbows, it’s not always all rainbows. And as we enjoy Pride events that acknowledge the crazy work done by Pride queens past, let’s also look to evolve and propel traditions forward in a new, intersectional direction.
All that to say: we’ve rounded up five Pride-related and/or queer AF art events this June to take yourself to. Because what better way to evolve than through art?
EXPLODE! Queer DanceEXPLODE! Queer Dance is a four-day queer dance performance festival curated by dance scholar Clare Croft. A range of forms will be part of the lineup, including South Asian dance, improvisation, Irish step dancing, and drag. Buy tickets for one of the three nights, or really commit with a full festival pass so you can catch all the queer boogieing. Catch this between June 22 and June 24 at JACK venue in Brooklyn.
RAGGA NYCThe New Museum presents RAGGA NYC as part of its BODY R&D session. RAGGA is a platform that connects a community of queer Caribbean artists working in a super diverse array of mediums including visual art, fashion, and poetry. The work on display explores Afro-Caribbean traditions through ground-shaking work dealing with race, sexuality, gender, heritage, and history. We think Ragga’s committed to education and grassroots organizing is inspirational, and we’re fangirl-ing over here. Check this out at the New Museum through June 25.
The Lavender Line: Coming Out in QueensQueens Museum brings you The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens, a multimedia exhibition of the Queens LGBTQ community from the 1990s to the present, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Queens Pride Parade. Historical ephemera like photographs, flyers, video footage, and audio recollections from past Queens Pride protests lend a nostalgic and historically grounding tone to this event. Queens has a long as hell history of putting on parades that reflect the ethnic diversity of the borough: something to celebrate, remember, and bring forward. Plus, ridiculously iconic work from the Wagner archives will also be on display. So when someone says WYD for Pride—hit The Lavender Line. On view from June 9 through July 30 at Queen’s Museum.
Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of CollectingNew York’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art—New York’s first museum focused solely on promoting the work of LGBTQ artists—has reopened on Wooster Street, and we’re so there. Their inaugural exhibition, Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, takes place in the newly renovated space (they deserve it). It’s a historical and rich collection with approximately 250 works on view that trace the shifting landscape of LGBTQ+ social conditions. It’s a unique and important archive from a queer perspective. More of this please. No rush (but like, don’t sleep on this) because it’s open through October 29 at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
Black Queer Brooklyn on FilmThis June, we know the spot to hit on Thursdays: The Brooklyn Museum is doing film screenings (yes every Thursday this month, bless) spotlighting queer, female-identified and non-binary black filmmakers based in the borough. Shorts like Lindsay Catherine Harris’s Evoking the Mulatto, Frances Bodomo’s Astronauts and more will be at this stacked series. Hit this, then post up in Prospect Park with your chosen family. Can you say summer vibes? Screenings are Thursdays at 7 PM at the Brooklyn museum all of June.
Images via EXPLODE! Queer Dance, The New Museum, Queens Museum, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, and The Brooklyn Museum
Stay tuned to Milk for more art-tastic NYC happenings.