We are at a transformative stage in the struggle towards the true equality of LGBTQ people. Hatred, discrimination, persecution, and legal barriers are still prevalent—and in many places violence and murder are a daily reality for millions. Change is underway and it is often artists that occupy this cutting edge. In the US, where homophobia has been commonplace since its inception, gay rights activism has fanned the fires of a political climate where courageous politicians, both men and women, have been able to initiate the necessary cultural shift that has led to serious socio-political change: In 1962 the state of Illinois abolished laws against “sexual perversions” that included homosexuality; the Stonewall riots in 1969 followed by the founding of the Gay Liberation Front in 1973 laid the foundation for activism that arose to confront the AIDS crises in the eighties led by artists and groups like ACT-UP, Gran Fury and General Idea; the beginning of the 21st century has seen important victories such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and equal protection clauses. Over the Rainbow recognizes the courageous and timely announcement by the Tate Britain for the 2017 Queer British Art initiative, a major and timely exhibition devoted to 50 years of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK. These are important steps, but it is important not to give up—the fight continues now more than ever.
Artists are the frontrunners and watchmen with an ability and determination to confront society. The struggle continues and energy must be given to those regions and nations where marginalized self-identification is criminalized and repression still rules. LGBTQ rights are human rights and the inequality will not go away unless we continue to stand up. Over the Rainbow pays tribute to all the brave artists who defend the human rights of all people.
Sadie BARNETTE, AA BRONSON, Matthew CHAMBERS, Jean COCTEAU, Philip-Lorca diCORCIA, ELMGREEN & DRAGSET, Zackary DRUCKER, Tom of FINLAND, Jean GENET, John GIORNO, Nan GOLDIN,
Hervé GUIBERT, Matthias HERRMANN, Richard John JONES,
Alexander KROLL, Robert MAPPLETHORPE, Carlos MOTTA,
Zanele MUHOLI, Adi NES, Catherine OPIE, Jack PIERSON,
Paul Mpagi SEPUYA, Sam SHAHID, Stewart SHINING, George STOLL, Paolo TITOLO, Jean-Luc VERNA, Sean-Patrick WATTERS,
Bruce YONEMOTO, Jwan YOSEF
curated by René-Julien Praz