(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
Ajamu X, Bud Kim, 2018 © the artist, Ajamu Studio

(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth, Manchester 27 January — 3 December 2023 Entrance is free — Visit now

Delving into its own collections and practices, The Whitworth presents (Un)Defining Queer, a brand new exhibition that takes a queer lens to examine the use of language, histories and narratives to define what ‘queer’ really means today.

As museums move towards decolonising and diversifying their practices, The Whitworth is continuing to prove its commitment to representing a wide range of artistic voices. (Un)Defining Queer is a major display that gathers a significant collection of works by artists from various backgrounds and ages, whose voices loudly contribute to the examination of queerness.

Paul Cézanne, Les Baigneurs (Grande Planche) , 896-97, Lithograph, University of Manchester
Paul Cézanne, Les Baigneurs (Grande Planche) , 896-97, Lithograph, University of Manchester

 

The show aims to address the chasm that exists between the abundant practices of LGBTQIA+ artists and their representation in national galleries due to the traditionally heteronormative museum activities. Not only does it provide a stage for queer artists’ voices but also a chance to update the existing definitions of queerness in all of its complexity and multitudes.

(Un)Defining Queer presents a display of works on loan as well as some never before seen pieces from The Whitworth’s collection. The artists range from those whose names are firmly carved into the canon of contemporary art history such as Derek Jarman, Wolfgang Tilmans, David Hockney, Maggie Hambling, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Keith Vaughan as well as established but younger or outsider artists and collectives like Jez Dolan, Ajamu X, Matthew Bamber, Pearl Alcock, General Idea, Sarah-Joy Ford and Chester Tenneson among others.

Niki de Saint Phalle (designer) 1930 - 2002 Marburger Tapetenfabrik J.B. Scarfer GMBH and Co. KG (manufacturer), Nana , 1972 Machine printed wallpaper, University of Manchester
Niki de Saint Phalle (designer) 1930 – 2002 Marburger Tapetenfabrik J.B. Scarfer GMBH and Co. KG (manufacturer), Nana , 1972 Machine printed wallpaper, University of Manchester

 

With such a wide range of artistic practices, audiences can expect to see paintings, photographs, documentation of performance, installation, prints, sculpture and much more in this wonderfully diverse display of artistic thought and oeuvre. From Ajamu X’s spectacular monochrome photographs to Maggi Hambling’s expressive paintings resembling layered wisps of smoke, the exhibition definitely offers an utterly satisfying aesthetic and emotional art experience.

The display was created in partnership with the LGBT Foundation and co-led by an intersectional group of people who self-identify as LGBTQIA+. (Un)Defining Queer also invites audiences to take part in the show by contributing to the ever-evolving ‘Queer Glossary’. The aim of the Glossary is to grant visibility to members of the LGBTQIA+ community within the collection.

(Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth, Manchester 27 January — 3 December 2023 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at The Whitworth

OUTDOOR ART CLUB AT THE WHITWORTH
Until
ChildrensManchester
Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry

Where to go near (Un)Defining Queer at The Whitworth

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Big Hands

Big Hands is the one-time haunt of legendary Manchester band Elbow; it’s shabby, loud and dark, with a jukebox and excellent roof terrace.

The Giving Tree
Manchester
Restaurant
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.

Pankhurst Centre
Manchester
Museum
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

Cafe at the Museum
Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
The Cafe
at the Museum

Manchester Museum’s cafe is run by the people behind award-winning cafe Teacup Kitchen. The menu features home-baked cakes, the finest loose leaf teas and breakfast, as well as a wide selection of mains and meals for kids.

Whitworth Park, Manchester
Manchester
Park
Whitworth Park

This 18-acre park opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary provides a welcome patch of green in an otherwise densely populated and heavily used part of the city.

Manchester
Music venue
Manchester Academy 3

Brilliant venue for catching a touring band on the rise. The boringly titled Academy 3 or more interesting Hop and Grape, as it was once known, is a self contained…

Manchester Academy music venue on Oxford Road Manchester.
Manchester
Music venue
Manchester Academy

The Manchester Academy is a mid size, modern warehouse venue adjacent to the University of Manchester Students’ Union. It lacks any architectural merit and has always been a difficult place…

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.