Being Pride month, June is always a festive time to celebrate the diversity among us. It’s also often a time to recognize the feats that the LGBTQ community have overcome and continue to face every other month of the year. This year, Pride month is ever more potent as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall Riots and Stonewall Rebellion.
The Stonewall Uprising was a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement. While people had been advocating for gay rights well before that fateful night in June of 1969, it was the first of many moments since that have made LGBTQ rights more pronounced, mainstream, and accepted simply as human rights.
To celebrate the anniversary of the uprising, here are five New York exhibitions you should check out:
Looking at a number of artists in the 20 years following the Stonewall Rebellion, this exhibition looks at the unique interplay between artists who identified as part of the LGBTQ community and those who identified as straight. ‘Art after Stonewall’ takes a look at how these artists’ works impacted the ‘visual culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) liberation movement.’
April 24th, 2019 through July 20th, 2019
‘Collier Schorr: Stonewall at 50’ at Alice Austen House
A collaboration between Alice Austen House and Stonewall Forever, a project presented by the LGBT Community Centre, this exhibition seeks to preserve the history of the Stonewall Riots and the ways in which they have impacted later generations. The Alice Austen House commissioned works by photographer Collier Schorr who works to explore and better understand identity and selfhood.
May 19th, 2019 through September 30th, 2019
‘Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall’ at the Brooklyn Museum
Looking at the years since the Stonewall Uprising, this exhibition brings together 28 LGBTQ+ artists under the words that became the slogan of sorts to Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender activist and drag queen. Through an array of mediums, artists represented in the exhibition work through issues that persist today and how they develop into a movement rather than simply a moment.
May 3rd, 2019 through December 8th, 2019
‘On the (Queer) Waterfront’ at the Brooklyn Historical Society
Instead of focusing on New York as a whole, ‘On the (Queer) Waterfront’ looks at the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn, alone, that has been around since at least 1855. The exhibition traces roots of the community back to the late 19th century with Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which was published in the NYC borough. The exhibition looks at figures within the area exploring the artists, entertainers, sex workers, sailors, and factory workers that shaped the Brooklyn’s LGBTQ community long before the Stonewall Rebellion.
March 6th, 2019 through August 4th, 2019
‘The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop’ at the Bronx Museum
A long-overdue retrospective of his works, Baltrop (1948-2004) was a photographer who dedicated his career to documenting life at New York City’s West Side piers which were a hot bed for prostitution and drug smuggling. They were also a place where gay men retreated to just before the AIDs epidemic hit. Baltrop’s photography beautifully documents the vulnerability of the men he encountered alongside the dilapidated architecture of the piers.
August 7th 2019 through February 9th, 2020
You can find a more detailed history of the Stonewall Uprising here.