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Installation view of Queer Interiors. Photo by Mitro Hood.
Installation view of Queer Interiors. Photo by Mitro Hood.

BMA is one of only two major U.S. museums to feature an installation by transgender artists

BALTIMORE, MD (September 12, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Queer Interiors, a multimedia installation that explores facets of domestic life experienced by LGBTQI+ communities. It was created by Baltimore-based artists Rahne Alexander and Jaimes Mayhew working in conjunction with Chase Brexton Health Care’s LGBT Health Resource Center. The installation is on view in the Commons gallery adjacent to the Imagining Home exhibition in the BMA’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center from September 18, 2016 through August 2017. The only other
major museum to feature an installation by transgender artists is the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“On behalf of the BMA, I’m pleased to welcome this groundbreaking project that reflects everyday domesticity while highlighting the diversity of the Baltimore LGBTQI+ community,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “We hope that Jaimes and Rahne’s inviting installation in the Commons will help to welcome all of Baltimore’s communities to the BMA and act as a site for conversation on how our homes reflect our personal and social identities.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to see the work that is emerging from both the artists as well as the community,” said Nate Sweeney, executive director of Chase Brexton Health Care’s LGBT Health Resource Center. “We know that for so many in the LGBT community, the arts have played and will continue to play a central role in people’s health and wellbeing. Health and wellness are more than taking pills, and the healing power of expression and importance of belonging are highlighted beautifully by this installation.”

Queer Interiors is part of the BMA’s Commons Collaboration initiative, which commissions an artist and non-profit to work together on an installation and offer a series of public programs related to Imagining Home. The project conceived and produced by Alexander and Mayhew is comprised of a larger-than-life bed, shelving and other furnishings, personal artifacts, and a multimedia wall quilt known as the Baltimore LGBTQI+ Home Movie Quilt. This component of the installation pays homage to Baltimore album quilts and the AIDS Quilt, with the aim of presenting a crowd-sourced multimedia portrait of the city’s LGBTQI+ communities.

During the course of the year-long installation, the décor of the bed, personal artifacts, and domestic scenes projected on the quilt will change periodically to better portray the multiple facets of the LGBTQI+ population— including many underrepresented communities. The artists will work with individuals from these communities to select personal artifacts for each change. Photographs and home video content will be crowdsourced. Contributions may be submitted via lgbtq.quilt@gmail.com or visit lgbtq-quilt.tumblr.com.

Related programs organized by the artists include:

  • October 14 –Opening Party, 6-9 p.m. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore. Guests will enjoy an artist talk, cocktails from Gertrude’s, and music from DDm.
  • November 19 – Transgender Day of Resilience, (tentative location) Chase Brexton Health Care at 1111 N. Charles St., Baltimore. Presented in conjunction with FreeState Justice and Baltimore Transgender Alliance, the program will include a workshop for trans individuals to obtain assistance with changing their legal documentation.

Dates are still being confirmed for 2017 events on the following topics:

  • February 2017: Health and wellness issues for Baltimore’s African-American LGBTQI+ community
  • Spring 2017: LGBTQI+ homelessness, especially focusing on youth
  • May 2017: Honor Our LGBTQI+ Elders Day
  • June/July 2017: Pride
  •  August 2017: Closing Party

Rahne Alexander is a video artist, musician, and performer. Her film and video art has been screened in galleries and festivals across the country, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, MIX (NYC), Freewaves (LA), Homoscope (Austin) and Cinekink (NYC) and she is an alumna of the Experimental Television Center residency program. Rahne was featured in the 2010 documentary feature Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance, and she performs frequently with several bands, including Santa Librada, Guided By Wire and The Degenerettes. She is a former curator/organizer of Baltimore’s avant-garde Transmodern Festival and the long-running, award-winning queer cabaret Charm City Kitty Club. From 2011-2015, Rahne was in charge of operations and development for the Maryland Film Festival.

Jaimes Mayhew is an internationally exhibited interdisciplinary artist and arts organizer. He has worked both independently and collaboratively on research-based socially engaged projects. Mayhew’s recent project, Samesies Island, explores the possibility of an imaginary separatist island built by and for transmen, and is collaboratively produced with input from other transgender men. He has collaborated with such notable groups as the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, a Boston-based art research collective, and The Museum of Transitory Art, a Slovenian artist collective. In 2012, Mayhew collaborated with Kristen Anchor to produce a two-part exhibition featuring queer Icelandic and American artists that was exhibited in Reykjavik and Baltimore. As a solo artist, Mayhew has received funding for projects from The Fulbright Commission of Iceland, Provisions Library (DC) and The Maryland State Arts Council.

Chase Brexton Health Care – LGBT Health Resource Center
With a mission to provide compassionate, quality health care that honors diversity, inspires wellness, and improves our communities, Chase Brexton Health Care provides a range of clinical services from primary medical care and behavioral health services to dental and pharmacy, among others, and welcomes more than 30,000 patients annually. Chase Brexton’s LGBT Health Resource Center provides LGBTQ individuals and their families with welcoming access to expert health information and resources that enhance wellness and quality of life.

Imagining Home
The inaugural exhibition for the BMA’s new Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center brings together more than 30 works from across the BMA’s collection to explore the universal theme of home. Visitors will discover paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, textiles, and works on paper from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, as well as four miniature rooms, plus a variety of interactive features presented in three thematic areas: Façades & Thresholds; Domestic Interiors; and Arrivals & Departures. Interactive features include Home Stories videos that reveal an individual’s or family’s experience living with a reproduction of a work of art for a month, Soundscapes that immerse visitors in the place where the object was made through authentic audio recordings, and 40 new stops for the BMA’s Go Mobile smartphone tour.

Joseph Education Center Commons
The Commons reflects the voices and creativity of Baltimore. Adjacent to the gallery in the Education Center, the Commons features a year-long Commons Collaboration inspired by the theme of home featuring artwork by an artist/artist team working in conjunction with a non-profit organization. In this space, visitors can also fill out Postcards from Home with their responses to questions posed in the exhibition, then postcards will be mailed to
another visitor whom they’ve never met. They may write their own address on a return label to receive a postcard as well. Select postcards are featured on the BMA’s blog. The Commons also hosts Open Hours on the third Saturday of the month. These events are organized by anyone who wants to propose an activity connected to the theme of home that promotes a sense of sharing and exchange.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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