Take a queer art tour at the Tate Britain's Queer and Now festival

Zoe Paskett
Jenny Saville. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian

Queer and Now at the Tate Britain is shining a light on the pivotal role LGBTQ+ culture plays in the arts.

Last year’s Queer and Now marked the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, looking through a queer lens at century of art prior to this law change.

This year, the focus is on the present and future. Curated by E-J Scott and Tate’s Learning teams, the one-day festival gives queer culture the podium and highlights UK LGBTQ+ contribution in shaping a space in the Tate Britain’s collection.

Queer tours around the galleries show what the history of art can teach us about the future and give a different perspective on some of the iconic works we may think we know all about.

Assistant curator Laura Castagnini leads a queer tour of current major exhibition All Too Human, exploring how painters such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud represented the human body and their relationships through a queer lens.

Guide John Wilson leads a BSL walk (with voiceover) through the LGBTQ+ themes, explorations of sexualities and gender identities depicted in British art.

Curator of the Museum of Transology E-J Scott discusses what a queer museum looks like, what it should contain, whose stories it should tell and whether it should invent a new model.

Talks giving the personal perspectives from artists and members of the Tate’s LGBTQ+ staff pop up in galleries throughout the day. The Tate’s Andrew Cummings discusses Sunil Gupta’s Untitled from the series Reflections of the Black Experience; Painter Sadie Lee talks about John Singer Sargent’s Ena and Betty, Daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer; and artist Jessie McLaughlin talks Dead Hen by Dame Elizabeth Frink.

For the under fives, a queer walk through British art invites families to see the gallery in new ways, following the lead of their children’s unpredictability. By embracing your own inner creature, artist Ashley-Louise McNaughton will help to build personal connections with the artworks in completely new ways.

Life drawing, film screenings, workshops, poetry, music, dance and drag performances will also run throughout the day, as well as opportunities to delve into the archives and discover LGBTQ+ history for yourself.

Everything is free to attend, bathrooms are gender neutral and “vibe checkers” will be on hand to ensure inclusivity and and a low-anxiety environment.

2pm-10pm on June 23, Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1, tate.org.uk