“QUEER CALIFORNIA: UNTOLD STORIES” ADDRESSES LGBTQ HISTORICAL MILESTONES

MOTHA at Oakland Museum of Art. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of Art.

Queer California: Untold Stories
On view:
April 13–August 11
OMCA (Oakland Museum of CA)
Oakland, CA

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) opened a major exhibition on April 13th that combines art and history to tell the untold and under-recognized stories of California’s LGBTQ+ communities. On view through August, the exhibit goes beyond mainstream narratives – Queer California: Untold Stories is 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.

“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.” -Christina Linden, Exhibition Curator

MOTHA at Oakland Museum of Art. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of Art

With transgender and LGBTQ+ rights increasingly in the news, the exhibition is a timely opportunity to shine light on the history of California as a major site of LGBTQ+ community, culture, and politics. Queer California explores a range of powerful stories through examples of social activism, contemporary artwork, historical materials, rarely-seen artifacts, 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 helps 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 draws on histories of struggle for self-determination to help us imagine a more inclusive future.

MOTHA at Oakland Museum of Art. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of Art

Two profound objects will set the stage for the exhibition in a section titled What Gets Left Out, including the original eight-color rainbow flag designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978 situated nearby contemporary artist Amanda Curreri’s hand-dyed flag displaying two of the colors removed from the original design. Visitors will also encounter a recording by artist Eve Fowler featuring lesbian and trans-Californians reading aloud from Gertrude Stein’s 1922 story about women in love that introduced the use of the word gay to mean homosexual. Black and white photographs, sculpture, drawings, and personal photo albums complete this section.

The exhibition presents several more sections – all of them aligning important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with lesser-known stories, focusing on a diversity of queer identities, civil rights, and resistance to oppression.

To learn more click here.

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