Tate Britain has announced plans this week for the UK’s first major exhibition dedicated to queer British art. The exhibition, which will launch in April, will feature LGBTQ artists from the 19th and 20th century, and is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.
Featuring a handful of leading artists, and lesser-known names from within various British art movements, artists so far confirmed include Francis Bacon, David Hockney and Virginia Wolfe. The exhibition will look at work from 1861, when the death penalty for so-called ‘sodomy’ was abolished, until 1967, when the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised gay sex between men over the age of 21 in England and Wales.
Directors at Tate promised that the show will look at themes of sexual desire in pre-Raphaelite work, as well as the emergence of queer themes within fringe and mainstream art movements. The show also aims to explore the emergence of queer out on the fringes of society during the 100 years from which works have been collected.
As well as paintings and illustrations, the exhibition will also feature writings, photography and historic artifacts – including the cell door of Oscar Wilde used during his imprisonment for homosexuality in the 1890s.
Queer British Art 1981 – 1967 runs at the Tate Britain April 5 – October 1. For more information and tickers visit Tate’s website.