Featured image: Shame Chorus, photo © Christa Holka
Art Hole is Gay Times’ monthly roundup of the queer art you need to see around the UK. This month, we’re amplifying the voices in our community that are not always heard, and sadly often ignored. From an exhibition highlighting trans art, to Isaac Julien’s reflection on Looking For Langston and exploration of black gay identity; these voices have always been loud and proud, it’s now time for us to listen.
Curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley
Until 3 September, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
Tread Softly includes over 30 works of sculpture, film, photography and sound exploring the gap between childhood and adulthood when identity and sexuality are discovered, negotiated and defined. Works selected from the Arts Council Collection by artists including Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin are shown alongside specially commissioned poems by acclaimed poet and Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay. A highlight of the show is Jordan McKenzie’s, Shame Chorus (2017), for which renowned psychoanalyst Dr Susie Orbach conducted interviews with members of the London Gay Men’s Choir, exploring early, formative experiences of shame and coming out. Giving voice to often internalised feelings, their stories were then set to music by leading musicians and composers. Originally conceived as a live performance that explores catharsis through collective action and singing the work is presented for the first time as a sound installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary Yorkshire Sculpture Park is hosting A Weekend of Wonderful Things from 14 – 16 July, featuring events, activities and experiences for all ages from dawn until dusk.
CONTINUUM: FRAMING TRANS LIVES IN 21ST CENTURY BRITAIN
Until 3 September, People’s History Museum, Manchester
Continuum is one of the first large-scale group exhibitions in the UK dedicated to promoting trans art. It showcases the diversity of trans voices in 21st century Britain, with 14 artists from a variety of backgrounds, working across a range of artistic media, and is part of the museum’s Never Going Underground season that explores the fight for LGBT+ rights. The first exhibition curated by Artmob, a collective established to raise the profile of trans and gender variant artists in the UK, Continuum, focuses on “the power of creativity to transform otherwise difficult and overlooked experiences and the ability of visual art to communicate, transform and connect”.
GAY UK: LOVE, LAW AND LIBERTY
Until 19 September, British Library
Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty at The British Library explores gay lives through personal testimony, cultural expression and legal reform, from the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde to the posthumous pardoning of historical homosexual offences this year. The Library will be hosting an accompanying season of events to provoke debate on past and present understandings of individual identity, reflecting on how far we have come as a society.
ISAAC JULIEN: “I DREAM A WORLD” LOOKING FOR LANGSTON
Until 29 July, Victoria Miro, London
Isaac Julien’s award-winning film Looking for Langston (1989/2017) explores black gay identity and desire against a backdrop of archival newsreel footage of 1920s Harlem. The black and white film, which Julien directed in 1989 and revisited this year, is the focus of this new exhibition at Victoria Miro, featuring newly-conceived, large-scale and silver gelatin photographic works, alongside rare archival material.
GRAYSON PERRY: THE MOST POPULAR ART EXHIBITION EVER!
Until 10 September, Serpentine Gallery
The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! Is a major exhibition of new work by Grayson Perry, arguably the UK’s most renowned commentator on contemporary society and culture. This deeply political exhibition explores the artist’s relationship with the world around him, in terms of his own popularity, as well as the wider social issues at play within the current political landscape. Famed for his life as a transvestite, the artist reflects on his own childhood and life experiences to explore identity in relation to society’s understanding of gender, race and class.