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5 Art Exhibitions We’re Excited About This Month


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Happy Pride Month! Every June, people all over the world come together to celebrate and support the LGBT+ community. To mark this important month, many major cities hold all kinds of events, including colorful parades, fun festivals, and even eye-opening art exhibitions.

So, to kick off Pride Month, we've put together a list of 5 must-see art shows in museums, galleries, libraries, and even theaters across the globe. From a large-scale spectacle exploring the work of a world-famous gay artist to a small-scale show celebrating a capital city's queer population, these exhibitions will have you beaming with Pride all month along.

Celebrate Pride Month with these all-inclusive exhibitions.


Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 (The New York Public Library, New York City)


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Do you know why we celebrate Pride in June? Activists have selected this month to mark the Stonewall Uprising—a series of riots that occurred in New York City on June 28 and 29, 1969. Considered the catalyst of the gay liberation movement, this rebellion holds a special place in history, as explored by the New York Public Library‘s Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 exhibition.

This show commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising by presenting an eclectic collection of objects. These include shots by pioneering photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies as well as pertinent artifacts from the library's archives. Together, these items “tell the story of Stonewall's call for equality and justice” and explore the ways in which it was received by the people of New York City.

This exhibition is on display until July 14, 2019.


Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now (The Guggenheim Museum, New York City)


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In the 1960s and 70s, Robert Mapplethorpe redefined the art of photography. In addition to giving us a glimpse into New York City's contemporary gay scene, his erotically-charged body of work explores the role of censorship in the arts. Moving beyond these widely studied ideas, the Guggenheim Museum focuses on his “artistic ethos” in Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now.

This highly anticipated exhibition features photographs and unique objects from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Given the large amount of work on display, the exhibition is presented in two parts. The first features highlights from the museum's holdings—including early Polaroids, revealing self-portraits, and other intimate photographs—while the second will contextualize Mapplethorpe’s “complex legacy in the field of contemporary art.”

The first half of this year-long exhibition is on view until July 10, 2019; the second opens on July 24 and closes on January 5, 2020.


Queer California: Untold Stories (Oakland Museum of California, Oakland)


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Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Queer California: Untold Stories invites visitors to “go beyond the mainstream.” With a focus on women, people of color, and transgender individuals, this exhibition at the Oakland Museum aims to shine a light on those who have been historically underrepresented in California's LGBT+ community.

In order to immerse visitors in the issues at hand, this exhibition employs a multimedia approach. On top of contemporary art and  historic materials and artifacts, Queer California: Untold Stories comprises costumes, ephemera, and other eye-catching objects. A participatory gallery also invites guests to share their own stories and experiences, making this show ideal for those who “imagine a more inclusive future.”

Queer California: Untold Stories is on view until August 11, 2019.


Gender Bending Fashion (Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston)


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Today, many experimental designers explore the ways in which clothing connects to gender. This phenomenon, however, is not new. To illustrate this, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has crafted Gender Bending Fashion, a show-stopping exhibition that traces “a century of haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion that has challenged rigid, binary definitions of dress.”

Like any fashion-centered exhibition, Gender Bending Fashion tells its story through a collection of garments. To complement these pieces and put a contemporary spin on the show, the museum has also opted to incorporate paintings, photographs, music, and video. In this same vein, Gender Bending Fashion focuses on many of today's hot topics, including shifting gender roles and the role of social media.

Gender Bending Fashion closes on August 25, 2019.


Life in Colour: Portraits of Queer Londoners (Stratford East Picturehouse, London)


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To Leo Crane, incorporating Pride into art is a labor of love. For two months, the British artist has been painting portraits of people in London's LGBT+ community. Completed in two hours or less, each painting bursts with expressive splashes of color and energetic brushstrokes, reflecting “the lively dialogue between artist and sitter.”

Crane has compiled these portraits into Life in Colour: Portraits of Queer Londoners, an exhibition at the Stratford East Picturehouse. Unlike shows at larger institutions, Life in Colour offers an intimate way to celebrate Pride. Plus, with a drinks-filled reception on June 14, this exhibition is an excellent option for those who want to stay spirited this month.

Life in Colour: Portraits of Queer Londoners closes on July 31, 2019.


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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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