Looking at the Gay Rights Movement through Art Read More
50 years after the Stonewall uprising, the Jewish Museum joins the Stonewall 50 Consortium to present a series of programs commemorating the movement’s anniversary.
On June 28, 1969, one of the most impactful moments for the modern-day gay rights movement occurred — the Stonewall uprising. It began when nine police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular New York City gay bar located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. To the officers’ surprise, the patrons who were regular attendees at the Inn resisted their arrest and fought back. It was in this moment that the infamous uprising began.
Whether due to more law enforcement arriving to arrest those at the scene, or supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, the riots incited the entire country. The six-day event erupted as one of the most important moments in gay civil rights history.
At the time, the Stonewall uprising unveiled the discrimination and violence directed towards the LGBTQ+ community in America during the 1960s, which then gave room to a broader public discourse concerning gay liberation. But it was even more than that. Its legacy also serves as a timeless catalyst for marginalized peoples to find their power to fight against injustice.
50 years after Stonewall, the Jewish Museum joins dozens of non-profit and cultural organizations as part of the Stonewall 50 Consortium, to pay tribute through a year of programming, while highlighting works of art from the Jewish Museum collection that explore themes of gender and identity.
On view now in Scenes from the Collection some of these works include: Gert Wollheim’s portrait of a gender ambiguous couple in Weimar Germany; Ross Bleckner’s abstract painting that explores his gay and Jewish identity; and a series of paintings by Chantal Joffe depicting gay Jewish women of the 20th century, such as Claude Cahun, Gertrude Stein, and Susan Sontag.
Stonewall 50 Programs at the Jewish Museum
- On Thursday, January 17, Eric Marcus, Stonewall 50 Consortium founder and creator of the award-winning podcast Making Gay History, will lead a workshop for educators exploring the history of the gay rights movement using a curriculum he has developed that includes excerpts from his podcast. His talk will be followed by visits to the Museum’s collection exhibition with museum educators to view art related to LGBTQ+ issues, and consider how art can deepen understanding and encourage communication about identity. Register online.
- On Thursday, March 7, Stonewall 50 Consortium founder Eric Marcus will be joined in conversation with Jewish Museum collection artists Ross Bleckner and Deborah Kass to discuss their work in the context of LGBTQ+ history and Jewish identity. RSVP online.
- On Thursday, May 30, community organizer and writer Adam Eli will lead a gallery walk-through of some of this favorite works in Scenes from the Collection, addressing queer themes and Jewish identity. RSVP online.
- Every Tuesday in March, the Jewish Museum invites high school Gender and Sexuality Alliance Clubs to participate in discussions and art making events exploring representation of gender identity, social conventions, and historical activism. Visits for this program are first-come, first-served for individual students, as well as GSA clubs, who are encouraged to register as a group. For more information, contact email@example.com.
As an art museum representing the diversity of Jewish culture and identity, the Jewish Museum believes in free expression and an open society. We embrace multiple viewpoints regardless of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and we oppose discrimination in all its forms. As we mark 50 years since Stonewall, the Jewish Museum’s exhibitions and programs will continue provide platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, fostering empathy, mutual understanding, and respect. We champion the powerful roles art and artists can play in our communities, both inside and outside the Museum’s walls.
— Ali Sementilli, Education Intern
To learn more about works of works of art exploring LGBTQ+ themes in the Jewish Museum collection, visit TheJewishMuseum.org/Collection.