This year was special, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the riots at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, that momentous night when queer people, especially transgender women of color, had reached their breaking point. They wanted to drink, dance, and be with their chosen family – without police interference. With the first beer bottle thrown across the bar, the queer community said enough is enough. A year later, the Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, and our modern Pride was born.
Columbus Museum of Art is proud to celebrate Stonewall with its original exhibition Art after Stonewall, 1969 – 1989. The exhibition, which opened in New York City at the Grey Art Gallery and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art as part of the Stonewall 50thcelebration, then traveled to the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum in Miami, Florida, has been universally recognized as a groundbreaking view into a unique era of LGBTQ+ history and unparalleled in its scope and depth. I invite you to join me by making a gift in support of the Columbus premiere of this extraordinary exhibition. Your gift will ensure a front row seat for this momentous celebration when it opens at CMA on March 6, 2020.
Stonewall and Pride are loud, public declarations that “we feel, we think, we are.” That’s what artists express in paint, in metal or fabric, in photograph, in every medium imaginable. Stonewall galvanized our community politically, culturally, and artistically. Those courageous people at the Stonewall Inn helped bring us into the open, no longer willing to be marginalized on the fringes of society. Artists – both queer and our allies – did the same.
In the years following Stonewall, artists expressed the isolation felt by LGBTQIA+ people, the pain of societal condemnation, and the uncertainty of being different in a world that demanded uniformity. They captured the fear and anger of the AIDS epidemic. But these artists also expressed the joys of love, of living authentically, of being one’s self without fear and without apology. Artists had always given voice to an oppressed community, but now that voice was louder, more insistent, more confident.
Columbus Museum of Art has captured those loud, proud voices with its Art after Stonewall exhibition. As the only exhibition of its kind, it brings together works by queer and allied artists spanning the two decades following the Stonewall riots in a celebration of a community moving from the shadows into the light, of a community shrugging off the demands of society, of a community finding strength and purpose in its fight for the right to exist.
Help us let love win by supporting Art after Stonewall and celebrating the power of queer art. After all, like glitter, Pride is forever!
– Jim Obergefell, Exhibition Chair
[Lead Image: Tseng Kwong Chi, Art After Midnight]