On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark SeligerOn Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger
Portrait by Mark Seliger

September 18, 2021 – January 9, 2022

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.

Exhibition Programs

Friday
17 Sep
2021
6:00 pm

'On Christopher Street' Virtual Opening

Join us for an evening with Memphis Brooks Museum’s Dr. Rosamund Garrett and photographer, Mark Seliger as we celebrate the opening of our newest exhibit; On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger.

Free
Event Details
Saturday
18 Sep
2021
2:00 pm

On Christopher Street- Panel Discussion

A panel revolving around "On Christopher Street" exhibit and discussing trans visibility, advocacy, and allyship.

Free Registration
Event Details
Saturday
2 Oct
2021
10:00 am

Seen: Trans Visibility 
Community Day

An all-ages event to raise the visibility of the Trans community through art, film, and making connections within the LGBTQ2IA+ community.

Free Registration
Event Details
Wednesday
20 Oct
2021
6:30 pm

Guided Tour of "On Christopher Street" with Joel Parsons

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.

Free Registration
Event Details
Saturday
20 Nov
2021
1:00 pm

Trans Day of Remembrance

Gather for a day of remembrance of the Trans people whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Free
Event Details
Friday
10 Dec
2021
5:30 pm

An Art History of Queer and Trans Lives | Dr. Bryan keene

Throughout time and across the planet, works of art provide glimpses into the public and private lives of LGBTQIA2+ individuals. These histories have long been studied by scholars but are often less well-known to general audiences or even in popular contexts. In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Bryan C.Keene (Riverside City College; formerly Getty Museum) takes us on a global journey to meet queer and trans people of the past and to encourage us to make space for new or expanded ideas about ourselves and those around us.

Free
Event Details

Artist

Curator

Artists + Curator

Mark Seliger
Photographer

Mark Seliger

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.

View Artist's Website

Photographer

Mark Seliger

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.

View Artist's Website
Chief Curator

Rosamund Garrett

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.

Rosamund Garrett

Chief Curator

Rosamund Garrett

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.

Program Recordings

'On Christopher Street' Virtual Opening

'On Christopher Street' Virtual Opening'On Christopher Street' Virtual Opening

Resources

Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

The American art theorist Linda Nochlin (1931-2017) posed this question as the title of a pioneering article in 1971. This essay was considered one of the first major works of Feminist art history, it has become a set text for those who study art internationally, and it is influential in many other fields.

Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? by Linda Nochlin