How has the London cityscape influenced the social life of the LGBTQ+ community in the past thirty years? And what are the effects of the current redevelopment plans on queer spaces? These are the core questions explored in the exhibition Queer Spaces: London 1980s – Today, which opened at the Whitechapel Gallery on 2 April.
The exhibition includes the ongoing research on queer venues compiled by UCL Urban Laboratory from 1986. Parallel to this archive, works focussed on the recent past are presented by contemporary artists like Tom Burr, Evan Ifekoya, Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, Prem Sahib and Ralph Dunn.
In the past decade around half of the LGBTQ+ venues in London have shut down due to rising rents and capitalistic ventures. This exhibition aims to show why identity-specific cultural infrastructures are important and what is threatening them, and how the diverse queer community contributes to London activism, creativity and self-expression.