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Miami Will Be One of Only Three U.S. Cities to Host “Art After Stonewall 1969 ─ 1989”

July 2, 2019 Destination Florida No Comments Email Email

First of its Kind, the Groundbreaking National Exhibition Opens Sept. 14 in Miami and will Headline Art Basel

Marc Lida, Grace Jones at the Saint, 1982, watercolor on paper, private collection, © Estate of Marc Lida

As celebrants across the nation honor the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprisings, in the heart of Pride month the Frost Art Museum FIU announces Miami will be one of only three cities in the U.S. to host Art After Stonewall: 1969  1989. The major exhibition of more than 200 works opens in Miami on September 14, and due to its size and scope will encompass the entire second floor of the museum, including the Grand Galleries.

The Miami presentation of Art After Stonewall 1969  1989 in the fall will be the first time that all of the works in this show will be exhibited together under one roof: all of the photographs, paintings, sculpture, film clips, video, music, and performance pieces, plus historical documents and images taken from magazines, newspapers and television (the current New York showing of Art After Stonewall is split up between two venues).

Diana Davies, Untitled (Marsha P. Johnson Hands Out Flyers for Support of Gay Students at N.Y.U.), c. 1970. Digital print. Photo by Diana Davies / © The New York Public Library/Art Resource, NY 

The show will headline Miami’s Art Basel in December: when the global spotlight shines on this city for one of the world’s leading art fairs, attracting 70,000+ collectors, cultural leaders, artists and media influencers from around the world, and will remain on view through January 5.

The groundbreaking exhibition is the first national museum show of its kind to survey the impact of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on visual culture, during the pivotal two decades after the Stonewall Riots, as the first Pride marches took flight ― a bold visual history of twenty years in American queer life.

The exhibition presents the work of openly LGBTQ artists alongside other artists who also engaged with the emerging queer subcultures, between 1969 and 1989. The Stonewall Riots are considered a historic flash-point for the LGBTQ movement, and the first two decades of art-making that immediately followed the uprising have never been explored this way before.

Greg Day, Stephen Varble at the 12th Annual Avant-Garde Festival, 1975/2018. Digital print. Copyright and courtesy of the artist

This 20-year period blazed with new creativity from these communities. These artists cleared a path through uncharted cultural territories, across intersections of avant-garde art worlds, radical political movements, and profound social change.

The list of trailblazing artists includes:

Vito Acconci, Laura Aguilar, Diane Arbus, Lyle Ashton Harris, Judith F. Baca, Don Bachardy, Lynda Benglis, JEB (Joan E. Biren), Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Arch Connelly, Tee A. Corinne, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Karen Finley, Louise Fishman, Nan Goldin, Michela Griffo, Sunil Gupta, Barbara Hammer, Harmony Hammond, Keith Haring, David Hockney, Peter Hujar, Holly Hughes, Tseng Kwong Chi, Greer Lankton, Annie Leibovitz, Christopher Makos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Moore, Alice Neel, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, Marlon T. Riggs, Jack Smith, Joan Snyder, Carmelita Tropicana, Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz, among others.

Although much has been written on the impact of the LGBTQ movement on American society, fifty years after Stonewall many key artists are still relatively unknown and are brought to light.

Ann Patricia Meredith, Lesbian Physique, Gay Games II / Triumph in ’86 San Francisco, CA, 1986, from the series A Different Drummer, 1970-1990, silver gelatin print

The museum is part of Florida International University, home to one of the country’s most diverse student populations. Focusing on inclusiveness towards the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ communities, the museum is partnering during the run of the exhibition with Unity Coalition | Coalición Unida, recognized as one of the nation’s leading organizations of its kind, especially for its cutting-edge programs for Latinx, Hispanic and people of color who are LGBTQ, and for spearheading innovative cultural initiatives for the Transgender, gender non-conforming, queer, millennial and centennial communities.

Unity Coalition | Coalición Unida will integrate its programming with the museum’s exhibition, during its 9th annual Celebrate ORGULLO Festival, Miami’s premier Hispanic LGBTQ Pride Festival offered every October. As part of this festival, the museum will host on-site one of Miami’s most highly anticipated LGBTQ events of the year: the October 12th annual Gala benefiting Unity Coalition | Coalición Unida.

Rob Hugh Rosen, Sylvester as Lady Day (#1), 1970, silver gelatin print

The Miami Connections in Art After Stonewall

Some of the artists included in Art After Stonewall lived in Miami and created art here between 1969-1989, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Martin Kreloff. The work by Gonzalez-Torres also confronted the AIDS crisis: a haunting billboard created by the artist in 1989 that ran for six months above the site of the Stonewall, informing viewers along NY’s busy Seventh Avenue about the need for activism.

Keith Haring, October 20, 1985, acrylic on canvas tarp

The work by Kreloff featured in the show is the poster for the very first White Party fundraiser for AIDS, held in Miami in 1985.

The history-making idea for the White Party AIDS fundraiser was hatched by Kreloff and friends in Miami, and became an inspiration for communities nationwide to raise much-needed fundsto help those suffering from the epidemic.

Diana Davies, Gay Rights Demonstration, Albany, NY, 1971, 1971. Digital print. Photo by Diana Davies / © The New York Public Library/Art Resource, NY

Scholars today recognize that just like New York’s Stonewall Riots, Miami was also ground-zero to an equally significant chapter in the LGBTQ civil rights movement, and this is also represented in the exhibition. In 1977, Anita Bryant led her notorious campaign to overturn a Miami-Dade County ordinance that banned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

This sparked a turning point for the movement that experts in the fields of civil rights and LGBTQ studies emphasize as equally important to Stonewall.

It was the first time the national media covered LGBTQ rights in this way. The story about Bryant’s crusade in Miami was the cover of TIME and Newsweek magazines, made headlines in newspapers across the country and on network television news. Before this Miami political battle to protect LGBTQ rights from Anita Bryant’s crusade, no other LGBTQ news event had been covered nationally.

This mobilized activists in cities and towns nationwide. A major component of the activism against Bryant’s campaign featured creative advertising, posters and graphic art.

Now, forty-two years after the Anita Bryant crusade, things have changed in Miami. The museum has received a groundswell of community support to bring this exhibition to South Florida. This exhibition has been made possible at the Frost Art Museum FIU by Bank of America and the Funding Arts Network. Additional support has been generously provided by Our Fund, an LGBT Community Foundation, and the Art after Stonewall Circle of Friends.

Martin Kreloff, Journey to Romance: A White Party at Vizcaya, 1985, acrylic and colored pencil   

During Pride month and leading up to the opening of the exhibition in September, art by LGBTQ artists is currently on view at the museum and in the university’s public art program. This includes an installation by Carlos Alfonzo and a sculpture by Pepe Mar, on view now at the museum.

On campus, the university features a major public art installation by Carlos Alfonzo. Considered one of Alfonzo’s most monumental works, his large-scale ceramic tile mural is one of his final works (created in 1991, the year he died). The museum will feature interactive iPads during the run of the Miami showing of Art After Stonewall, presenting artwork by several artists based in Miami and archival materials.

The museum is also working closely to integrate the exhibition with FIU’s LGBTQA Initiatives. The on-campus group promotes educational, social, and resource programs and services to meet the needs of FIU’s LGBTQ students.

Peter Hujar, Gay Liberation Front, Come Out, 1970, offset lithograph, © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC, collection of Flavia Rando, image courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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