Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by the Smith + Nephew Pride Employee Inclusion Group
Interested in learning more about sponsoring an exhibition at your museum? Email us
About On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger
We all need sanctuary: a place where we can bravely question and explore who we are and find where we belong.
Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village has long been a refuge for generations of transgender and queer people – a beacon for freedom of expression and acceptance. The LGBTQIA2+ rights movement was born there when the police raided the historic gay bar The Stonewall Inn in 1969, sparking protests on Christopher Street that would later be commemorated as Pride marches across the world. In an area at the edge of Manhattan marked by the decline of the shipping industry, Christopher Street and the nearby piers have offered the semblance of a safe harbor, for those whose safety, even within family, is not guaranteed. Many trans and queer people have said that the Village is the first space they have shared with others like themselves, and for all of us it is a place that constantly shifts and challenges our understanding of gender identity and of self.
The internationally renowned photographer Mark Seliger has captured the beauty and struggle of this famous but vanishing neighborhood – and his longtime home – in this series of portraits. He has witnessed the steady erosion of the rich cultural diversity of the area and its replacement with luxury boutiques. To Seliger, these images not only celebrate the trans community but also represent a cautionary tale about gentrification. His work is a call for allyship to protect our neighborhoods and the many different faces that form them.
These portraits remind us that Christopher Street is more than just a physical place – it is a feeling, an idea, that redefines notions of home and community. It encourages us to experience it and bring it with us. At a time when trans and queer rights are again at the political forefront, it is increasingly important to create and foster our own Christopher Streets.
LGBTQIA2+ is an abbreviation for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and/or Questioning Intersex Asexual Two-Spirit +and the many affirming ways people choose to self-identify.
On Christopher Street- Panel Discussion
SATURDAY, September 18 | 2 PM
A panel revolving around "On Christopher Street" exhibit and discussing trans visibility, advocacy, and allyship.
Seen: Trans Visibility Community Day
SATURDAY, October 2 | 10 AM - 5 PM
An all-ages event to raise the visibility of the Trans community through art, film, and making connections within the LGBTQ2IA+ community.
Guided Tour of "On Christopher Street" with Joel Parsons
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20 | 6:30 PM
Join us for a guided you of "On Christopher Street" with Joel Parsons, Assistant Professor of Art, Director of Clough-Hanson Gallery, and chair of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Rhodes College.
Trans Day of Remembrance
SATURDAY, November 20 | 1 PM
Gather for a day of remembrance of the Trans people whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
Artist & Curator
Mark Seliger (b. 1959, Amarillo, TX) (he/him) is an American photographer known for his portraits of celebrities and public figures, including Obama, Oprah, and Mick Jagger. Seliger has created covers for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Elle among others. His work is held in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and now the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
Dr Rosamund Garrett is the Chief Curator at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Born in the United Kingdom, Rosamund gained her undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, before joining The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, for her MA (2011-12), and PhD (2012-2016). There she specialized in the art of Northern Europe in the Late Medieval and Renaissance period. Dr Garrett has worked in various museum positions in the UK including The National Trust and The Courtauld Gallery in London, working primarily with European Art and global contemporary art. In November 2018, Dr Garrett moved to Memphis. Here, she has worked on exhibitions including Power & Absence: Women in Europe, 1500 - 1680, Mona Hatoum: Misbah, and On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger.
with Swann Auction Galleries