“Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Art Exhibit” is the nation’s first exhibit to employ a full team of artists that lie within the LGBTQ+ community. The collection first debuted during Pride Month in 2017, was organized by the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and is comprised of 32 pieces from 22 artists.
Ranging from sculptures of blown glass to mixed media pieces that implement videos, acrylic paints, varying forms of glass and other mediums the exhibit provides a wide variety of artwork utilized in order to depict the artists’ experiences in their lives both past and present.
Each piece of artwork in the exhibit was chosen by the artists themselves in an effort to follow the exhibit’s desire to emphasize self-expression and creative freedom. The ages of the artists are strung across the board and explore topics that span from living through the height of the AIDS epidemic to struggling with identity in the age of social media and lack of privacy.
“Transparency” creates ground for discussions regarding self-advocacy, freedom and visibility through the pieces it provides.
In a statement from artist Tim Tate, he comments on the exhibition. “This is the perfect time to have this labeled show. Visibility is more important now than ever before. We won’t go silently in the night,” Tate said.
The exhibition heightens awareness and brings light to issues within the queer community. Notably the AIDS epidemic — particularly throughout the 80s and 90s — to highlight the fear and discomfort associated with the disease due to its severe disenfranchisement during the time period. It provides insight and details by looking back and mourning all of those lost to AIDS. This detail stresses the importance of visibility and understanding while also generating a call for the refusal of ignorance.
Not only this, but the installation also explores topics and questions surrounding feminism and matters of gender non-conforming individuals. This implementation questions social norms in order to urge viewers to consider and think about how we can transition into a promising and more progressive future.
By portraying these experiences and passing on their stories, these artists are breaking through boundaries and defying those who sought to hold them back. This installation’s message is a call to embrace individuality even in the face of adversity and fear. It is a remembrance of those who came before in order to create a more promising future.
In another artist statement, Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman discussed what their pieces added to the exhibit., “With the use of continually challenging material, our intent has been to create works that embody our common humanity and invite viewers to reflect,” Knowles and Pohlman wrote on their statement.
“Transparency” calls its viewers to reflect, not only on the past but on themselves as well. The exhibit introduces a poignant blend of compassion and sadness with bravery and hope to elicit contemplation that will have viewers leaving the exhibit with a new outlook.
Available until October 2020, all students who bring their Husky ID to the Museum of Glass save three dollars on admission fees or can attend the museum for free from 5–8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.