From 21 October 2023, together with the Kunsthaus, Kunsthalle Nürnberg will be showing the international group exhibition Who’s Afraid Of Stardust? Positions of Queer Contemporary Art. The exhibition presents works that revolve around life and desire beyond heteronormativity and make a substantial contribution to the current debate on diversity.
Fig. above: Chloe Sherman, The Mission, 1996. photograph; Courtesy f3 – freiraum für fotografie, Waldemarstr. 17 | 10179 Berlin, www.fhochdrei.org | #fhochdrei
The central motivation for this exhibition is the current social development. For one thing, queerness has never been as visible as it is today. This also includes a newly gained visibility of gender-nonconformist protagonists: For a good 10 years now, characters and persons whose perceived gender does not correspond to their biological gender have been appearing in films, TV series, the fashion and music world and in literature. At the same time, legal as well as social equality for persons who do not belong to the heteronormative majority society has still not been achieved. Even today, there are countless attacks and assaults on queer people, and right-wing populists all over the world are trying to marginalise alternative ways of life. In order to better address the concerns of the LGBTIQ* scene, the city of Nuremberg was the first Bavarian municipality to adopt an action plan in February 2022. The Kunsthalle Nuremberg and the Kunsthaus take these diverse and also diametrically opposed currents as an opportunity to address queer themes in contemporary art in an exhibition that is as comprehensive as it is diverse.
In the visual arts, a change in perspective took place at the end of the 1960s: At that time, Andy Warhol celebrated drag queens like Candy Darling as muses and brought them in front of the camera. While transsexual prostitutes or performers were still poor outsiders for the photographer Diane Arbus in the 1950s, they appeared as avant-garde in Nan Goldin’s photographic portraits around 1990. Today, queer contemporary art is receiving international attention, including a newfound visibility of gender-nonconforming artists and content.
The exhibition title Who’s Afraid Of Stardust? combines various points of reference: It alludes to the famous series of works Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue by Barnett Newmann and at the same time refers to a legendary art figure by David Bowie. As Ziggy Stardust, the artist played with gender roles and sexual identity. Short flaming red hair, his experimental make-up, high heels and sexually charged stage shows: with Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie created a genderfluid figure who did not adhere to heteronormative rules.
The identities, life models and modes of expression that come together in the LGBTIQ* scene are heterogeneous. Equally varied are the artistic commentaries that the exhibition brings together: they revolve around life and desire beyond heteronormativity, play with gender roles and boundaries, and call for a re-examination of the normative concepts of gender and identity. Rather than offering a linear or chronological narrative, this exhibition aims to present a variety of artistic positions that address this theme from different angles. The selection of artists made by a team of three curators (Matthias Dachwald, Dr Anne Schloen and Dr Harriet Zilch) will be internationally oriented. Multimedia works by around 30 artists are planned, which will be presented in the exhibition halls Kunsthalle Nürnberg and Kunsthaus.
The exhibition runs from 21 October 2023 to 11. February 2024 and includes works by Soufiane Ababri, Leigh Bowery, Katherine Bradford, Julia Bünnagel, Hans Diernberger & Will Saunders, Jochen Flinzer, Félix González-Torres, Harry Hachmeister, Keith Haring, Peter Hujar, Oliver Husain, Verena Issel, Sabrina Jung, Barish Karademir & Walter Schütze, Zora Kreuzer, Navot Miller, Mrzyk & Moriceau, Andreas Oehlert, Jens Pecho, Martin Pfeifle, Claus Richter, Chloe Sherman, Cindy Sherman, Otakar Skala, Andy Warhol, Thilo Westermann and Tobias Zielony.
Kunsthalle & Kunsthaus Nuremberg
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Thursday-Sunday + Tuesday, 11:00-18:00 hrs
Wednesday, 11:00+20:00 hrs