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Sixth Annual Gay Pride Art Exhibition Unveiled at Clifford Chance

20 June 2012

Sixth Annual Gay Pride Art Exhibition Unveiled at Clifford Chance

Gender, sexual identity, desire, community and visibility. These are some of the intriguing themes that will be explored through portraiture at a limited art exhibition curated to celebrate Gay Pride Month.

The collection, The Mutable Portrait, consists of more than 100 paintings, photographs, prints and works on paper by a diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) artists who use portraiture to express such themes.  The collection will be housed at the New York office of international law firm Clifford Chance, which will launch The Mutable Portrait at its Sixth Annual LGBT Pride Exhibition today and feature a presentation this evening by distinguished curator Jonathan D. Katz.  The collection will be on display through September and is sponsored by Arcus Americas, a chapter of Clifford Chance's global LGBT and allies community. 

The multiplicity of perspectives, techniques and ideas embraced by The Mutable Portrait reflects the complexity and fluidity of human identity.  Whether espousing visibility, evoking desire, critiquing cultural ideals of gender and sexuality, or celebrating either iconic LGBT figures or an intimate community of friends, in various ways the artists and subjects included in the exhibition assert themselves proudly.

The artists represented in The Mutable Portrait represent a cross-section of the art world: some are well-established, some emerging, some obscure.  With more than 100 artworks on loan from the collection of New York's Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art as well as from private collections, galleries and artists, the exhibition freely intermixes historical and contemporary works to spark connections among their common themes. While many of the works are portraits in the narrowest sense (depictions of figurative subjects), what others more broadly portray are times, places or reflexive gestures that challenge the viewer.

“The exhibition and the opening reception provide us with unique opportunities to exchange ideas, encourage dialogue and reinforce Clifford Chance’s support for diversity,” said partner Jason Young, chair of Clifford Chance's Americas Diversity Committee.  “We are proud and excited to have such an impressive group of artists represented in this collection and to be celebrating our Annual Pride Art Exhibition for a sixth consecutive year." 

The June 21 opening will be highlighted by Katz's presentation, titled Sexuality & Portraiture: Picturing the Invisible.  Katz co-curated HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the groundbreaking exhibition that has been on display at both the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery and the Brooklyn Art Museum.   Hide/Seek was the first LGBT exhibition ever brought together at a major U.S. museum and received the 2011 Best National Museum Show award from the U.S. section of the International Association of Art Critics and a Stonewall Award from the American Library Association for its accompanying book.  A pioneering scholar, in 1990 Katz was the first full-time American academic to be tenured in the field of gay and lesbian studies and founded and chaired both the Harvey Milk Institute, the largest queer studies institute in the world, and the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association.  Katz directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and  is the president and chief curator of the new Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City.

Since 2008, Arcus Americas has coordinated parallel exhibitions with its counterpart group in the firm's London office.  This year's opening reception in New York will take place from 6:30 – 9:00 pm and is, with tours available by appointment, open to the public.   The exhibition will remain on view at Clifford Chance through mid-September.