The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART
Memphis, TN

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On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger
Through January 9, 2022

Mark Seliger, a well-known photographer, has captured striking portraits of some of the transgender residents of New York City’s famed Christopher Street. This will be the first time this body of work will be shown in a museum, and it is the first transgender-focused art exhibition the Brooks has ever organized.

On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by the Smith + Nephew Pride Employee Inclusion Group

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About On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger
We all need sanctuary: a place where we can bravely question and explore who we are and find where we belong.

Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village has long been a refuge for generations of transgender and queer people – a beacon for freedom of expression and acceptance. The LGBTQIA2+ rights movement was born there when the police raided the historic gay bar The Stonewall Inn in 1969, sparking protests on Christopher Street that would later be commemorated as Pride marches across the world. In an area at the edge of Manhattan marked by the decline of the shipping industry, Christopher Street and the nearby piers have offered the semblance of a safe harbor, for those whose safety, even within family, is not guaranteed. Many trans and queer people have said that the Village is the first space they have shared with others like themselves, and for all of us it is a place that constantly shifts and challenges our understanding of gender identity and of self.

The internationally renowned photographer Mark Seliger has captured the beauty and struggle of this famous but vanishing neighborhood – and his longtime home – in this series of portraits. He has witnessed the steady erosion of the rich cultural diversity of the area and its replacement with luxury boutiques. To Seliger, these images not only celebrate the trans community but also represent a cautionary tale about gentrification. His work is a call for allyship to protect our neighborhoods and the many different faces that form them.

These portraits remind us that Christopher Street is more than just a physical place – it is a feeling, an idea, that redefines notions of home and community. It encourages us to experience it and bring it with us. At a time when trans and queer rights are again at the political forefront, it is increasingly important to create and foster our own Christopher Streets.

LGBTQIA2+ is an abbreviation for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and/or Questioning Intersex Asexual Two-Spirit +and the many affirming ways people choose to self-identify.

William Eggleston: The Louisiana Project
Through October 24, 2021

Memphis artist William Eggleston, a pioneer of color photography and one of the foremost photographers in the world, is known for his vivid images of everyday life in the South. This exhibition presents selections from his Louisiana Project portfolio (1980-81) that highlight two important characteristics of Eggleston’s work: his careful attention to subject matter and his craftsmanship in carefully framing color and light to create a sense of drama around everyday objects.

Mona Hatoum: Misbah
Through January 9, 2022

Mona Hatoum (b. 1952, Beirut, Lebanon to Palestinian parents) is considered one of the most significant artists of her generation, and this exhibition is the first time her work has been shown in Tennessee. Hatoum's sculptures and installations often re-imagine everyday objects to engage with issues of gender, race, and conflict. Misbah ("lantern" in Arabic) considers the discordant and dangerous realities around the world of people displaced due to warfare and strikes the ineffable balance between socio-political commentary and sheer beauty. This presentation of Mona Hatoum: Misbah is organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA), in collaboration with the Rennie Collection. Mona Hatoum: Misbah is part of ArtRoom, an ongoing series of contemporary art installations organized by the AFA.

Power and Absence: Women in Europe: 1500-1680
Schilling Galler

This reimagining of the Schilling Gallery explores the representation of women in Europe from around 1500 to 1680, known as the Renaissance and Early Baroque period. Most of the works in this room have been made by men. Women are represented as untouchable ideals, threatening monsters, enterprising community leaders, ornamental accessories to power, and models of faith. Portraits of men, meanwhile, express their power, talents, or intellect.

The museum holds work by only one woman artist from this time, Sofonisba Anguissola, displayed in the gallery. This startling fact is not unusual for art museums. From the Renaissance through to the end of the nineteenth century, women could not formally train as artists because of societal expectations and gender roles. Some women, like Anguissola, used family connections to overcome the social and political limitations of their time and achieved artistic success. Yet long-lasting reputations were dependent on the opinions of later generations. Decisions about which artists are praised in the history books and collected by museums were largely made by men. Social systems stifled the talent of countless women artists, lost to history.

Notably absent are representations of women of color from this period in museum collections, including the Brooks. This gallery questions these representations and omissions as we reinterpret our permanent collection to create a more equitable museum.

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