The Brooklyn Museum has announced “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” an exhibition featuring twenty-two contemporary LGBTQ+ artists whose work honors the fight for queer liberation in the years since the 1969 Stonewall Uprising – on view May 3 through December 8, 2019.
“Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” takes its title from the rallying words of transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, aiming to expand the collective understanding of the Stonewall Uprising’s legacy for today’s LGBTQ+ communities.
The summer 1969 revolt at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s West Village, was a landmark moment in the queer liberation and gay rights movements in the United States. However, in the ensuing decades the crucial role of transgender women of color and homeless LGBTQ+ youth in the Uprising, as well as the radical politics the rebellion embodied, have been largely marginalized by the mainstream gay rights movement. The exhibition sheds light on alternative narratives, including those of individual participants, while also exploring the realities of our current political moment through the work of artists from the vanguard of contemporary art.
Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall is organized by an inter-departmental group of five curators, each of whom brings a unique perspective to the curatorial process. The exhibition will touch all corners of the Brooklyn Museum, with work on view in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, a related Resource Room for further learning, expanded public and educational programming, and new institutional initiatives. This multidimensional approach to curation emphasizes the Brooklyn Museum’s dedication to inspiring conversations through art and providing community members with a place to have those conversations.
The exhibition features artists Mark Aguhar, Felipe Baeza, Morgan Bassichis, David Antonio Cruz, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, John Edmonds, Mohammed Fayaz, Camilo Godoy, Jeffrey Gibson, Hugo Gyrl, Juliana Huxtable, Rindon Johnson, Elektra KB, Linda LaBeija, Park McArthur, Elle Pérez, LJ Roberts, Tuesday Smillie, Tourmaline, Kiyan Williams, Sasha Wortzel, and Constantina Zavitsanos. Their work will be displayed across four sections that explore themes of Revolt, Heritage, Desire, and Care Networks. These themes expand upon the prevailing understanding of the Stonewall Uprising and its legacy.
Artists included in the exhibition have worked individually and in collaboration to grapple with the unique conditions and questions of the current political moment. The Brooklyn Museum has commissioned new works specifically for the exhibition. They include Tourmaline’s new film Salacia, which depicts Mary Jones, a Black transgender woman who lived in New York City during the early nineteenth century, as she carves out a life for herself-and a legacy for generations thereafter-in the face of systemic racism and transphobia. LJ Roberts’s Stormé at Stonewall is a large-scale sculpture that pays tribute to the diverse participants in the Stonewall Uprising – particularly lesbian activist Stormé DeLarverie – whose stories are often erased by popular media. Morgan Bassichis has created an interactive installation inspired by the radical communal living practices of Lavender Hill, a commune founded outside of Ithaca, New York, in the late 1960s. Numerous performances have also been commissioned as part of the robust schedule of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition.
“Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” is curated by Margo Cohen Ristorucci, Public Programs Coordinator; Lindsay C. Harris, Teen Programs Manager; Carmen Hermo, Associate Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; Allie Rickard, Curatorial Assistant, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; and Lauren Argentina Zelaya, Acting Director, Public Programs, Brooklyn Museum. Its Resource Room is organized by Levi Narine, Teen Programs Assistant, InterseXtions and Special Projects, in collaboration with the curators.
The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.
Painting: S.T.A.R., 2012. Watercolor, collage on board, 9½ x 11 in, by Tuesday Smillie (American, born 1981).