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Weekend 101

WEEKEND 101: QUEER BRITISH ART

The Queer British Art exhibit at Tate Britain “explores connections between art and a wide range of sexualities and gender identities in a period of dynamic change.” Looking at art between 1861-1967, the collection shows a huge variety of pieces, from classical oil paintings, to Oscar Wilde’s prison door.

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Some might – but must not – forget that even with unacceptance still very much present today, in the periods of time a lot of this artwork was created it was illegal, even punishable with death in some cases, to be ‘queer’.

A woman holds a phone up to "Self-portrait" by Laura Knight during a media preview for the "Queer British Art 1861-1967" exhibition at Tate Britain in London, Monday,April 3, 2017. The show, which opens to the public on Wednesday, includes works that relate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identities and marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Although we know oppression, not only based on sexual preference, but also gender, is only something that is recently taking longer strides, it was still a shock to the system to read that women were originally banned from life drawing classes – and this practice in art schools was reserved solely for the men.

A Tate staff member poses for photographs next to "Life Painting for a Diploma"" by David Hockney during a media preview for the "Queer British Art 1861-1967" exhibition at Tate Britain in London, Monday, April 3, 2017. The show, which opens to the public on Wednesday, includes works that relate to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans identities and marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The exhibition is a celebration of acceptance. Not just because of the fact in 2017 it is becoming commonplace for exhibits exploring these themes without anyone batting an eyelash, but because the audience attending the show is a joy to be part of. Young women and men stand shoulder-to-shoulder with older ladies and gentlemen, of all sexual preferences, each with a curiosity to the stories behind the artwork. The exhibition is a cocoon without prejudice, even down to the infamous blank Tate postcards, which you can fill in to share your thoughts and emotions on the show at the end. Bold statements of ‘this allowed me to come out to my father’ and “I’m a straight old lay and this show made my day – I loved it” warm the heart of the reader (ignoring the hilarious self-promotions for the occasional Grindr account).

 

Queer British Art runs at Tate Britain until October 1st.

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/queer-british-art-1861-1967

 

 

 

 

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