The Best Queer Art & LGBTQ Exhibitions To Check Out Now

By Tessa Dunthorne

6 months ago

Exploring art through the Queer perspective


Across history, art has been a way to explore the idea of how we identify with ourselves, our genders or sexualities. Marginalised communities have often found their home in art, and the visual arts has the highest percentage of LGBTQ+ workforce in the arts sector at seven percent of its permanent workforce. This has translated into better visibility of queer artists, providing a space for creators to showcase the experiences and protest the challenges they have faced due to their sexuality or gender. It is only in recent years, however, that the exploration of sexuality or gender has been permitted without artists or individuals facing legal or social repercussions. After centuries of silencing, queer art and LGBTQ exhibitions hold paramount importance. These are the queer art and LGBTQ exhibitions you should check out now across London and the UK. From permanent spaces to panel talks, art installations to pop-ups, these exhibitions will make you feel safe and challenge your thinking.

Queer Art & LGBTQ Exhibitions To Check Out Now

A Milllion Candles, Illuminating Queer Love and Life At The London Art Fair

A Million Candles, Illuminating Queer Love and Life is a curation of art for the London Art Fair  (17-21 January) as part of its regular section, Platform. Platform aims to present work by overlooked and emerging artists – alongside celebrated contemporaries – that explore a single distinct theme picked by an invited curator. This year, Gemma Rolls-Bentley will explore the resilience, passion and beauty of queer love and life – particularly in the wake of the public erasure of LGBTQIA+ identities.

FaRIDA-X by Ghada Khunji

FaRIDA-X by Ghada Khunji

Details: 17-21 January at the London Art Fair, Business Design Centre. londonartfair.co.uk

A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space

Coinciding with Trans Awareness Week (13–19 November), A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space will bring a collection of work by up-and-coming artist Erin Holly, offering a critical exploration of interior environments, their connection with the politics of space and inclusion, contemporary social categorisations, and most pertinently, Holly’s journey with her identity and understanding of embodiment.

A Trans Arrangement of The Painted Space

Details: 16 November–9 December 2023 at JD Malat Gallery. jdmalat.com

REBEL: 30 Years Of London Fashion

Launching in conjunction with London Fashion Week 2023 and sponsored by Alexander McQueen, REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion is the first survey of the radical creativity of young fashion designers in Britain, celebrating the influence of British design on the global fashion stage. It will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN programme, which has alumni including Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Kim Jones, Charles Jeffrey, Mary Katrantzou and Christopher Raeburn.

Details: 16 September 2023–11 February 2024 at the Design Museum (224–238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG). designmuseum.org

Osman Yousefzada

A solo exhibition of interdisciplinary artist and writer Osman Yousefzada’s work will be showcased at Charleston from 23 September, featuring works on display for the first time. Engages with the representation, rupture, and reimagining of the migration experience, Yousefzada tells stories across textiles, sculpture, moving image, installation, garment making and performance. One such project is a new series of large-scale textiles titled ‘Queer Feet’, representing defiant queer bodies and embroidered with found objects and Afghan rugs.

Details: 23 September 2023–10 March 2024 at Charleston (Firle, West Firle, Lewes BN8 6LL). charleston.org.uk

LGBTQ+ Audio Trail

This audio trail, by the dynamic duo behind the Bottoming podcast, brings to life Liverpool’s rich LGBTQ+ history. Touring you through the Wondrous Place exhibit (a curation of objects from the arts, entertainment and sports where the Scouse have made history), it draws you to reexamine certain objects through a queer lense. Be drawn in by the Killing Eve costume and stay to admire the works of local campaigners who have improved the lives of LGBTQ+ Liverpudlians.

Liverpool Museum - Villanella-costume, Wondrous Place Exhibit, LGBTQ exhibitions

Details: Ongoing at Museum of Liverpool (Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1DG). liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

QUEERCIRCLE

In 2022, LGBTQIA+ charity, QUEERCIRCLE, launched its new, permanent space in North Greenwich. A space for the queer community, expect artist residencies, LGBTQ exhibitions, panel discussions and a dedicated library of essential texts in a tucked-away reading nook.

Art installation in Queer Circle

A previous installation at QUEERCIRCLE

Details: Ongoing in North Greenwich (Building 4, Design District, 3 Barton Yard, Soames Walk, London SE10 0BN). queercircle.org

Museum Of Transology

‘Collectively, we will halt the erasure of transcestry’: the Museum of Transology is the UK’s largest collection of object representing trans, non-binary and intersex people’s lives, consisting of 213 files, 280 artefacts, 155 brown paper tags and 435 jpgs. The collection can be viewed online, though pop-up events and talks are frequent (stay up to date on Instagram); for example, on 10 June 2023, the Museum of Transology is collaborating with Tate Britain on ‘The Intersex Collection’, where visitors are encouraged to bring their your own objects to add to the collection to ensure their legacy is also written into intersex history.

Details: Ongoing online exhibition. museumoftransology.com

Queer Britain

The UK’s first museum of British LGBTQ history and culture opened in King’s Cross in 2022, quickly attracting acclaim and awards. Visit to tour the gallery, or keep an eye on their what’s on listings for events, exhibitions and panels.

Details: Permanent space at 2 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH. queerbritain.org.uk

Desire, Love And Identity

This 60-75 minute object trail and 30 minute trail spotlight same-sex love, desire and gender-diversity, enriched with an audio guide. From sculptures to Maori treasure, a Maya ruler to a Mesopotamian deity, this trail illuminates the world’s long-stretching queer history.

Details: Ongoing at the British Museum (Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG) and online. britishmuseum.org

Queerate Tate

This digital queer exhibition sits on the Tate website after drawing together contributions from across the globe during the pandemic – an apt representation of the digital curation the pandemic necessitated but also enabled. E-J Scott, the curator of Queerate Tate and also the Museum of Transology, says: ‘By the LGBTQIA+ community, about the LGBTQIA+ community, Queerate Tate is filled with messages of hope, love and survival that offer strength to us all in these most extraordinary times.’

Details: Ongoing online. tate.org.uk

Featured image: ‘Peter, Venus as a Boy’ by Kevin Anaafi-Brown, from the ARTIQ x Link’s Queer Frontiers exhibition 2022.