My first-ever gallery tour, 13 years ago, was a gay men’s gallery tour, and once a month, for 10 months a year, I’ve led a completely different LGBT gallery tour. That makes 130 LGBT tours I’ve led, all of them showing exhibits not seen on any previous tour. So it’s no small news that my next LGBT gallery tour in Chelsea on Sat. Feb. 14 will have an UNPRECEDENTED line-up of superstar gay artists, among them: (1) a Robert Mapplethorpe photo show, (2) a hilarious new art exhibit by John Waters, famous for creating “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos,” (3) full-frontal male nudes from the 1930s – 1950s (illegal at the time) by pioneering artist George Platt Lynes, and (4) rising-star lesbian Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s imaginative videos. These are just 4 of 7 shows on my must-see LGBT tour.
Honestly, it’s a total fluke that so many famous, iconic artists would be having a show in Chelsea at the same time. And all of them are separate solo exhibits, not some group show where they’re lumped together. Any one of these artists would be a major focus of my publicity for an LGBT tour, and to have them all on one tour is almost mind-boggling. This could be the most memorable LGBT tour of my career.
And those aren’t the only artists whose shows we’ll be visiting, just the most famous. On this tour there will also be a photo exhibit of nude self-portraits by an openly gay Chinese artist – one of only 2 openly gay Chinese artists I’ve ever heard of; a show by a female artist who cross-dresses to set up fun and fascinating before-and-after scenes using lenticular photography; and a female artist whose imaginative sci-fi computer art projections portray a Utopian society of women only.
Part of me wishes these amazing shows could be spread out over the course of the season, but I have absolutely no control over that. All of these exhibits are closing in the next 2 – 3 weeks, so there’s no possibility of including any of them on my next month’s LGBT tour. Basically, it’s now or never.
And imagine the social opportunities on this tour for meeting queer people for dating, friendship, and more. Already my registration numbers are well above average this far ahead of a tour. By the time Valentine’s Day comes around, I expect it will be among the best attended tours I’ve ever led and maybe ever will lead. Luckily, the galleries on this particular tour are all quite spacious.
Let the superstar queer spectacle commence!
Rafael Risemberg, Ph.D., Director
New York Gallery Tours