Queer Love: Affection and Romance in Contemporary Art 

Four Dozen Artists Explore Intimate Queer Relationships in Exhibitions at Two New York City Galleries

Lehman College Art Gallery, February 14 – April 28, 2023 

La MaMa Galleria, February 18 – April 6, 2023

The works featured in this two-part exhibition celebrating queer carnality,
camaraderie, and passion—are not rigid interpretations of our existence culled from the heterosexual imagination, but pictures and objects produced by every stripe of LGBTQIA+ within our polychromatic, ever-expanding spectrum.

Queer Love: Affection and Romance in Contemporary Art presents paintings, photographs, photographs, sculpture, video and multimedia work that show stories of vulnerability, tenderness, and desire in the LGBTQIA+ community − a community of affirming gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual people. Works by 48 artists open February 2023 – symbolically on Valentine’s Day,  Tuesday February 14, at Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx, and on Saturday, February 18 at La MaMa Galleria in Lower Manhattan. Lehman’s artistic partnership with La MaMa Galleria, an organization with a long and rich history of queer programming, links this project to the broader New York City LGBTQIA community.   

Depicting cheerful, romantic expressions of love as well as non-traditional nuclear families, the LGBTQIA artists highlight the bonds between themselves as art creators, and their bonds to those with whom they have personal ties.

The LGBTQIA artists often move from celebrating their own loves to proclaiming a place for queer people within a larger society. Lushly beautiful, their art creates a series of nuanced and reflective, but largely positive narratives, and love’s transformative impact on both the human experience and the artistic process. 

Bronx-based artist Paco Cao, who designed a site-specific piece for Queer Love, draws on a Valentine’s Day poem written by Charles W. Leslie that he dedicated to Fritz Lohman, his lifetime partner, and with whom he co-founded the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (originally, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art). The poem encapsulates the power of love that shapes the exhibition.

The multi-figural works on view focus on the LGBTQIA experience the impact of these relationships on family members and friends. The art works point out the cultural shift towards positive queer representations across racial, age, religious, class, and gender identities. Lehman College and La MaMa Galleria acknowledge the issues faced by LGBTQIA artists as well as college and high school students who seek to “come out,” while they struggle to maintain positive ties with their biological families − some recently immigrated from countries that do not hold positive views about the LGBTQIA experience as well as those from families long ensconced in the United States.

Confirmed artists for the exhibition include: Ruven Afanador, Lizzie Alexander, Patrick Arias, Lex Barberio, Mark Beard, James Bidgood, Adriana Elena Bravo Morales, Elliott Jerome Brown, Jr., Paco Cao, Luis Carle, Vincent Chong, Jayne County, David Antonio  Cruz,  Rakeem Cunningham, Betsy Damon, Anabelle De Clement,  Jess T. Dugan, C. Finley, Michael Fox, Gabriel Garcia Roman, Christy Gast, Sunil Gupta, Zach Grear, ggggrimes, Barbara Hammer, Clifford Prince King, Tommy Kha, Zachary Logan, Jessica Mitrani, Cobi Moules, Raúl de Nieves, Samantha Nye, Tura Oliveira, Sola Olulode, Catherine Opie, David Rios Ferreira & Neil Fernando, Gabriel Garcia Roman, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Xavier Schipani, Emily Shur, Gerald Simcoe, Sophie Schwartz, Harris Singer, Alix Smith, A.L. Steiner, Hank Willis Thomas, Federico Uribe, Rachael Warner. 

The exhibition is supported by the Medora Bross Geary and John Geary Family Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation, with additional funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Edith and Herbert Lehman Foundation, Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Foundation, Charina Foundation and the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits fund. Public programming for the exhibition is provided by the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation through The Sara Little Turnbull Visiting Designer Speaker Series at Lehman College. The exhibition, curated by Bartholomew F. Bland, will be accompanied by an illustrated commemorative catalog with an essay by Alex Jovanovich.

About Lehman College Art Gallery: Always free to the public, Lehman College Art Gallery has been serving the interests of our diverse audience from the Bronx and greater New York City since 1984. The gallery specializes in thematic group exhibitions that bring together famous artists with emerging talents. Education is an integral component of the Gallery’s programming and provides the basis of community outreach—from young students to senior citizens.

About La MaMa Galleria: Founded in 1984, La Galleria is a nonprofit gallery committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. It serves the East Village community by offering diverse programming to an inter-generational audience, and expanding the parameters of a traditional gallery space. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting.