A new exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots will open on Friday, March 3, at the Brooklyn Museum.

Borrowing its title from the rallying words of transgender artist Marsha P. Johnson, “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” commemorates the 50th anniversary of the rebellion by exploring its legacy in contemporary art and culture on today’s LGBTQ+ communities.

“Nobody Promised You Tomorrow” will feature 22 New York LGBTQ+ artists, whose works span painting, sculpture, film, photography and performance, and aims to expand the understanding of the Stonewall Uprising beyond the image of protesters in the streets to consider the everyday acts of care that underpin public activism.

“The Brooklyn Museum has long been committed to providing a platform for those courageous enough to confront and question history,” said Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum. “With Nobody Promised You Tomorrow, we’re telling a more inclusive story of the Stonewall Uprising that connects it directly to the remarkably diverse community of LGBTQ+ artists carrying on the legacy of Stonewall now and into the future.”

The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. It was a landmark moment in the queer liberation and gay rights movements in the United States.

However, in the ensuing decades the crucial role of transgender women of color and homeless LGBTQ+ youth in the Uprising, as well as the radical politics the rebellion embodied, have been largely marginalized by the mainstream gay rights movement. The exhibition sheds light on alternative narratives, including those of individual participants, while also exploring the realities of our current political moment.

A new exhibit at Brooklyn Museum will features 22 LGBTQ+ artists whose work honors the fight for queer liberation
Featured artists Morgan Bassichis (left) and LJ Roberts (right).

The Brooklyn Museum has commissioned new works specifically for the exhibition. The film Salacia depicts Mary Jones, a Black transgender woman who lived in New York City during the early nineteenth century, as she carves out a life for herself-and a legacy for generations thereafter-in the face of systemic racism and transphobia. 

The large-scale sculpture Stormé at Stonewall by LJ Roberts pays tribute to the diverse participants in the Stonewall Uprising — particularly lesbian activist Stormé DeLarverie — whose stories are often erased by popular media. And multi-media and performance artist Morgan Bassichis has created an interactive installation inspired by the radical communal living practices of Lavender Hill, a commune founded outside of Ithaca in the late 1960s.

Other featured artists include Mark Aguhar, Felipe Baeza, David Antonio Cruz, Mohammed Fayaz, Juliana Huxtable, Linda LaBeija, Elle Pérez, Tuesday Smillie and Sasha Wortzel, among others. Their work will be displayed across four sections that explore themes of Revolt, Heritage, Desire and Care Networks. Additionally, several performances will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibit will be on view fromMay 3, through December 8, 2019.

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