Every last Friday of the month the V&A hosts an evening event which is open to the public, and I thought it was about time we review it here on BogeArt. This month the theme was ‘Queer and Now’ with the aim to ‘challenge traditional gender roles and exploring the diverse worlds of the LGBTQ history through art, design, performance and politics’. This month’s event garnered a lot of interest as DJ’s from the notorious club nights LOVERBOY and Amy Grimehouse were playing in the grand entrance. The V&A brings the LGBTQ London night scene to the academic institution, and pairs it with think pieces concerning what ‘Queer’ encompasses today.
You have to get there early, as all the events and performances fill up on a first come first serve basis, and they all fill up quickly. Highlights included Salon Outre, who provided ballet from Swan Lake, burlesque set to Kylie Minogue and readings of Shakespeare’s homoerotic sonnets. Particularly interesting, and a little more serious, was a presentation by ‘guerrilla gardener’ Paul Harfleet, who plants pansies at locations where homophobic abuse has taken place and then photographs them. The photos stand-alone effectively, with a familiarity to images of the remembrance poppy, but, for ‘Queer is Now’, the artist presented correspondences between pansies in the collection at the V&A and his work.
During breaks I wondered around the cast courts, where real people had been invited to pose alongside the stone sculptures, in order to highlight the ‘constricting physical idealism and rigid social identities embodied in classical sculpture’. These ‘live sculptures’ also provided great life drawing compositions, which I have tried to capture in some snaps:
My recommendation- see as much of the instillations, performances and talks as possible. The music doesn’t stop, and whilst listening to a set in the grand entrance of the V&A feels pretty fab, the majority of people were nervous to really get into it and dance, making me wonder if perhaps museum etiquette is too ingrained in us for this kind of night to fully succeed? If you really want to boogie then I would perhaps suggest actually going to the DJ’s club nights. It’s also hard to really get into the music when the evening stops at 10pm. The aim to utilise today’s music scene as a curation tool I don’t think has yet been fully achieved by any of these late night museum events (including Late at the Tate), but I do think they are getting closer. It’s not just the organisers who need to get it right, I think the viewer has some adjusting to do also. Saying that, what a fun, thought provoking and wonderful way to kick off the weekend!
We asked some guests what they thought of the evening:
Molly, Art student, 20
‘I really like the theme, it fits in perfectly with the flamboyance of the V&A- plus some great music. I really liked the work by Paul Harfleet, I guess others did too as the room was packed!’
Alice, 19, Geography student
‘Me and my mates just heard about this and decided to come last minute. It was great to see the LOVERBOY and Amy Grimehouse dj’s for free, especially in such a monumental venue! I’ve never seen a museum have such a vibrant atmosphere’
Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt