Photo courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.
Photo courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.
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Oakland Museum Of California celebrates queer history in latest exhibition

From April 2019, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will present a major exhibition combining art and history to tell the untold and under-recognized stories of California’s LGBTQ+ communities.

Going beyond mainstream narratives, Queer California: Untold Stories will be the first museum exhibition of its kind to deepen and expand our understanding of this history through a multifaceted and interactive experience, providing the opportunity for museum visitors and members of the LGBTQ+ community to add their voices and stories to the conversation.

“At this very tumultuous time in our country, many marginalized communities feel that threats to their basic rights are on the rise. This exhibition is needed now more than ever not only to share messages of hope and change, but also provide a deeper understanding of the complex history and important lesser-known stories of LGBTQ+ communities in California,” said Christina Linden, Exhibition Curator.

Queer California will address issues close to the hearts of many visitors who identify as queer, as well as other visitors who have felt like outsiders in mainstream culture.”

Photograph of Stop AIDS Now or Else (SANOE) protesters blocking the Golden Gate Bridge, Rick Gerharter, Photograph of Stop AIDS Now or Else (SANOE) protesters blocking the Golden Gate Bridge, 1989. Photograph (PRNewsfoto/Oakland Museum of California)

With transgender and LGBTQ+ rights increasingly in the news, the exhibition will be a timely opportunity to shine a light on the history of California as a major site of LGBTQ+ community, culture, and politics.

Queer California will explore a range of powerful stories through examples of social activism, contemporary artwork, historical materials, rarely-seen artefacts, archival documents, photographs, films and videos, costumes, and ephemera such as zines, stickers, and flyers.

The exhibition aligns important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with untold stories, focusing on the diversity of queer identities, civil rights, and resistance to oppression.

A timeline will help ground visitors in the key moments, movements, and figures in California’s LGBTQ+ history, as well as the organizations, events, and people not often mentioned in that history. This exhibition will draw on histories of a struggle for self-determination to help us imagine a more inclusive future.

Brown Rainbow Eclipse Explosion, Young Joon Kwak. Brown Rainbow Eclipse Explosion, 2017. Sculpture. Photo courtesy of Ruben Diaz.

Historian and activist Susan Stryker and film historian Greg Youmans are consultants on the exhibition.

The exhibition is supported in part by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board. Additional support is provided by Jen and Frances Rainin.

Queer California: Untold Stories will be on view in OMCA’s Great Hall from April 13 through August 11, 2019.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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