Mighty Real Queer Detroit: The Largest Exhibition of Works by LGBTQ+ Artists Kicks Off June 2nd

Mighty Real Queer Detroit: The Largest Exhibition of Works by LGBTQ+ Artists Kicks Off June 2nd

A month-long exhibition with more than 700 works spread across 17 Detroit venues, plus artist talks, live performances, panels, poetry readings, and never-before-seen fine art. 

Detroit Non-Profit to Present the Nation’s Largest Exhibition of Works by  LGBTQ+ Artists, Spotlighting 150+ Artists in Celebration of Queer Life

The Ford Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the month-long art exhibition, celebration, and event series that represents a historical deep dive into the diversity of  the LGBTQ+ community and its longtime allies. The exhibitions will feature both emerging and established queer art, as well as never-before-seen works by artists whose careers were shortened by HIV/AIDS.

Taking place simultaneously across 17 galleries, the exhibition and public programming,  are curated to connect with queer and non-queer audiences, creating public space and  attention to queer art and life, from 1945 to present. Importantly, the emergence of  queer art as a studied aspect of ‘American’ art has been a relatively new phenomena— and only recently celebrated. And, this year it is especially poignant here in Detroit, as it  plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ‘Detroit Pride’ march, held downtown  in 1972. 

Each gallery will have a different exhibit focusing on different parts of the LGBTQ+ experience.  Playgrounds exhibit is titled “Arrows, Eros, Arose”, it will be centered around themes of romantic love, lust and arousal.

Over the past 77 years, the richness of Detroit queer life, as expressed in art, has  developed in unseen ways. This city-wide exhibition is one of the first to capture the  range and breadth of this development. Adding to this rich storyline of queer life in Detroit, MR/QD Creative Director/Curator, Patrick Burton, shared this moving statement: 

“In the late 1970s, I gathered with a group of rebels, eccentrics, and tender  spirits, who found ourselves in a limelight of post-Stonewall ‘gay liberation.’ We  were children. We took our first steps on the boulevards of Detroit where we were forced to grow-up against the conventional world, which dominated those  streets and shunned us – socially stigmatizing, legally criminalizing, physically  assaulting. Yet, we found reprieve through building our own spaces, with new  faces, who then became friends, and overtime, our chosen family. Since then,  Queer culture has taken root, emerged, endured, and allows space for many  different experiences. The varied works presented during Mighty Real/Queer  Detroit exhibition are testimony to this legacy, and importantly, future.” 

-Patrick Burton

Beyond the exhibition, MR/QD will host an online gallery and publish a future catalog  with essays by noted writers and historians that will document the exhibited artwork.  Moreover, mediums of queer talent and expression will fill the month of June, with multiple artist talks, panel discussions, poetry readings, youth art showcase, and live  performances by an additional 40+ artists. 

This grassroots event is being curated and organized by dozens of volunteers, who collectively have devoted thousands of hours. It will culminate into what MR/QD hopes to be the inaugural kickoff for a future biannual event and as a continuation and  preservation of the largest showcase of Queer art in the United States. 

Playgrounds exhibit will be titled “Arrows, Eros, Arose”, it will be centered around themes of romantic love, lust and arousal. “Arrows, Eros, Arose” opening reception will be on Friday June 3rd, It will be on display through June 30th. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, noon-5pm.

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