ON VIEW: Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York @ The Museum of the City of New York

Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York, a groundbreaking exhibition that explores New York’s role as a beacon for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) artists seeking freedom, acceptance, and community.

The exhibition, which runs through February 26, 2017, will examine the worlds of New York’s famous LGBT cultural innovators, as well as those of ordinary citizens.  The exhibition will also identify historical trends that led to the increased visibility of LGBT artists over the course of the 20th century.

Occupying two full galleries, Gay Gotham features 225 works from a mix of iconic and lesser-known LGBT artists, whose work will be presented chronologically to reveal the trajectory of queer life in 20th-century New York: composer Leonard Bernstein; playwright, poet and novelist Mercedes de Acosta; activist Harmony Hammond; dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones; arts impresario Lincoln Kirstein; artist Greer Lankton; photographer George Platt Lynes; artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; artist and author Richard Bruce Nugent; and artist Andy Warhol. Each of these individuals will be examined within the overlapping networks of numerous fellow artists and colleagues who advanced their professional careers, sustained their social lives, and propelled them into the city and nation’s cultural mainstream.

Curated by Donald Albrecht, MCNY curator of architecture and design, and Stephen Vider, MCNY Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, includes paintings, drawings, photographs, sound recordings, and films that explore queer artistic achievements in music, the visual arts and theater during the 20th century.

Related Programs:

Caption: Linda Simpson, from left, Lady Bunny, Misstress Formika, Sweetie, Anna Conda and Tabboo! in Pyramid Club Dressing Room. Image Source: 1992. Courtesy of Linda Simpson/The Drag Explosion.

Making the Queer Scene
Tuesday, December 6 at 6:30 pm

Whether at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, far West Side hangouts like the Ramrod and the Mineshaft in the 1970s, lesbian bars like the Clit Club, or the drag and performance spaces of the East Village in the 1980s and ’90s, bars and clubs have long been places where LGBT people have come together to socialize, celebrate community, and push back against social prejudice. Join a group of writers, performers, and activists as they discuss the historical and ongoing importance of queer nightlife in New York.

Michael MustoOut contributor 
Julie Tolentino, artist and activist
Linda Simpson, performer and photographer
June Thomas (moderator), Slate editor (tickets)

Image source: Photograph by Debbie-jean Lemonte of DAG Images/MCONY

Ungendering Fashion
Thursday, January 12 at 6:30 pm

It is undeniable that the hard line once separating traditionally feminine and masculine clothing has blurred – and with it, our conventional understanding of gender. In this discussion moderated by fashion and culture blogger Anita Dolce Vita, leading trans-inspired fashion writers and designers reflect on the ways in which fashion opens up new possibilities for self-expression.

Anita Dolce Vita, fashion and culture blogger
Gogo Graham, fashion designer for transwomen
Sara Geffrard, Editor-in-Chief, Dapper Chick
Ryley Pogensky, model and contributor, dapperQ
Luna Luis Ortiz, photographer and HIV/AIDS activist (tickets)

Image source: Courtesy of Conrad Ventur/MOCNY

Documenting LGBTQ Life
Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30 pm

Directors Rodney Evans and Conrad Ventur discuss how film as a creative medium can document, preserve, and represent LGBTQ history, from drag performer and Warhol superstar Mario Montez to photographer John Dugdale. Gay Gotham co-curator Stephen Vider moderates. (tickets)

For gallery hours + more info, visit MOCNY

Cover photo source: Museum of the City of New York


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