You can’t mount an exhibition about gays in love without rousing a little political controversy. Sure, all art is political, in its way. But when the art on display involves a pair of elderly men in a tender embrace, or a lesbian couple posing with their adopted children, or GLBT family portraits taken at Sears, or a prankish set of posters that each bear the slogan “Hey, Hetero!” — you’re almost guaranteed a banal retread of the worn, predictable and gridlocked debate surrounding the definition of marriage. Well, that is unless you’re Howard Oransky and Jim Dryden, organizers of “Love Never Dies,” an ambitious, two-venue show that enjoyed its opening reception at the Form + Content and Traffic Zone galleries on June 6.
The wonderful thing about “Love Never Dies” is its messy, joyfully conflicting stances on social issues that usually require lockstep positions. Should gay couples demand the right to marry? “Absolutely,” a photograph from Terry Gydsen, documenting the anti-gay sentiment at a protest at St. Paul’s Capitol Building, seems to say. “Maybe not,” argues the “Dyke Action Machine” (DAM), a guerilla wheatpasting campaign that left thousands of posters all over Lower Manhattan in the 1990s. The DAM, a collaboration between Carrie Moyer and Sue Schaffner, sought to challenge “the corporate gay movement’s drive towards gay marriage and parenthood as the norm.”
Or maybe political issues should be sidestepped altogether, as the book of Sears family portraits suggests. Faced with un-ironic, un-polarized images of honest celebration in gay relationships, political point-scoring seems to woefully miss the point.
“Love Never Dies” features artists from all over the world, and its message on gay relationships seems to be equally kaleidoscopic, spicing up a general consensus on tolerance with dozens of personal outlooks. The mood is universal without becoming monolithic.
The exhibition is a loose sequel to Form + Content’s 2007 show about LGBTQ identities, “Modes of Disclosure.” It is presented in collaboration with Walker Art Center’s film festival, Queer Takes.
With Open Field, Walker invites you to play in its yard
Walker Art Center’s Open Field project, an attempt to resurrect the spirit of the creative commons by welcoming “planned or spontaneous” activities on the museum lawn, is in its first week.
The Open Field Tool Shed provides a stash of toys and picnic equipment that visitors can check out for use. There you’ll find books, games, sports equipment and art supplies. At the Open Lounge — a shady courtyard that serves as a combination public patio, classroom, and outdoor bar and grill — you can grab a hotdog and maybe find some takers for an impromptu game of bocci ball.
While the museum does have several planned events for the lawn — check the website for details — the idea is to keep the programming loose. Tai chi and yoga are encouraged, as are badminton and book clubs.
Any questions regarding how to schedule an activity should be addressed to the Open Field Coordinator at email@example.com or 612.375.7543. Certain rules and guidelines apply, including city and park regulations. Visit walkerart.org/openfield for more information.