If you are thinking of a weekend getaway to London this is definitely a good time to book that flight. With the better exchange rates happening right now plus these three must see exhibitions that will definetly enrich your queer experience, I don’t want to hear any excuses.
The first is Punk Illustrations of Jo Brocklehurst, which gets comments such as „This is transgression at its most stylish” and „Vibrant illustrations immortalising a flamboyant subculture“ coming from the media. The museum‘s director Colin McKenzie shares this excitement in presenting the first ever retrospective of Jo‘s art, „She was an extraordinarily gifted and influential artist whose work chronicled a unique period of contemporary cultural and counter-cultural life in a way that no one else did.”
Jo produced her „live action drawings“ in punk squats, fetish clubs and on the performance scene of 1970–90s London, Berlin and New York. Her art is a unique record of the Punk subculture and her illustrative style has often been compared to the Austrian artist Egon Schiele as you can see from the piece shown here.
Mostly working from a gloomy corner, she documented the performers, artists and designers seeking their freedom of expression, including a young Marc Almond, Boy George, Pina Bausch and others. Jo‘s figurative artworks from legendary underground clubs capture these experiments with sex and androgyny that later reappeared in runway shows of fashion giants Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, music videos and other more mainstream venues.
Over 100 works are presented including her best-known portraits from the 1980s, as well as her live drawings from the theatres, jazz clubs and opera houses of 1990s Berlin which have never been exhibited before. She worked up these pieces overnight for publication in the next day’s Berliner Zeitung newspaper to document a very special glimpse of the now vintage underground scenes of Berlin.
Hockney & QBA @ The Tate
Then grab some caffeine and head over to the Tate Britain to catch not just one more, but two very dynamic presentations.
The first is a comprehensive collection of works by David Hockney. He is one of the most popular and influential gay British artists of the 20th century. You probably know of his art from the sunny poolside paintings with naked boys splashing around that he did while at his second home in in Los Angeles. Hockney who is now almost 80 years old shares six decades of his work including paintings, drawings, prints, photography and video. A must see!
Then the groundbreaking exhibition Queer British Art 1861-1967 which opens on 5 April marking the 50 year anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England. These deeply personal and intimate works were created to strengthen their community long before the modern terms of gay, lesbian, bi and trans were ever spoken out loud in public. This exhibition explores how artists expressed themselves by pushing the boundaries through their art in a time when established social rules and laws about gender and sexuality were being questioned and transformed. Over a century of artworks are on display here celebrating queer British art as never seen before.
Jo Brocklehurst: Nobodies and Somebodies – at the House of Illustration www.houseofillustration.org.uk
David Hockney and Queer British Art 1861–1964 – both at the Tate Britain