A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Coming Out exhibition opens at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Bold, brave and most of all - exciting. Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity, which arrived at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts was passed in England and Wales (1967 Sexual Offences Act).

I headed along to the exhibition recently. For me, 'coming out' has always a been a phase that has meant something to me. As I revealed in an old blog post of mine, my mum is a lesbian - you can read it here.

Although I have a dad and step mum who I completely adore, I was essentially brought up by two women, and so the concept of coming out and being totally comfortable with who you really are is one that I am, obviously, all for.

The exhibition showcases over 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists, who explore themes of sexuality, gender and identity in art. With art works from Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Steve McQueen, Tracey Emin and a huge range more on display.

Visitors to the exhibition can see and explore a whole host of work celebrating how views of sexuality and gender identities have evolved, and continue to evolve today. Many of the artworks exhibited also have international significance to Birmingham including prints by Margaret Harrison and photography by renowned Birmingham-based artist Vanley Burke. 

The exhibition is also hosting a variety of events for both kids and adults, including gallery trails, sculpturing and life drawing classes, craft workshops and many more.

Coming Out: my highlights... 

Can love remember the question and the answer? 2003 - Anya Gallaccio

I absolutely loved this piece. With sixty real flowers, the artwork will decay over the duration of the exhibition. The flowers are a reminder of just how brief and beauty can be. 

A Moment to Herself - 2002 - Chila Kumari Burman 

Chila's work explores issues of identity and culture and she uses her work to address her female identity and dual Pakistani and British heritage. 'A Moment to Herself' consists of found objects from her flat, with the piece consisting of flowers, make-up and lingerie. 

The Promised Land - 1984 - Bob Jardine 

Bob Jardine moved to Milton Keynes to start a new life after the town was established in 1967 to help relieve housing congestion in London. The series of photographs documented in 'The Promised Land' document his experiences and were mostly taken at a former club called The Joint.

Gentlemen: Men are interested in Power. Woman are more interested in Service. And Gentleman: Newspapers are no longer ironed. Coins no longer boiled. So far Standards have fallen - 1981-3 - Karen Knorr
The images featured in Karen Knorr's work are from a set of 25 called the 'Gentleman' series. Each photograph was taken inside one of London's private members' clubs. The quotes accompanying each photograph are from speeches and newspaper articles, which the artist felt reflected the attitudes of men she has met at members clubs.

Claire's Coming Out Dress - 2000 - Grayson Perry
Claire's Coming Out Dress, is a full-skirted party dress that is symbolic of those worn by young girls for a special occasion. The dress has embroidered images that disrupt the innocence associated with this style of children's dress, with embroidered penises and testicles tied with green ribbons that mimic a familiar flower motif.

Coming Out takes place at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until April 2018.

To find out more about the Coming Out exhibition, head here


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