NEWS: Phyllis Christopher @ BALTIC | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Phyllis Christopher, Castro Street Fair, San Francisco, 1989. Image courtesy of the artist

San Francisco’s lesbian community during the 1990s is the subject of the first major institutional survey of photographer Phyllis Christopher‘s work, taking place at BALTIC and curated by Laura Guy, the editor of a new book dedicated to Christopher’s work, Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003.

Beginning to document the lesbian community in her home town of Buffalo, New York, she moved to San Francisco in 1988 to continue her visual study of the ever-increasing voice of women’s and gay liberation. Victories and changes were acknowledged from the previous decade, and Christopher was one of several artists who felt a magnetic pull to capture the next period, honing in on an increasing group of people who protected, understood and looked out for each other. Christopher’s tenderly hand-printed and tinted pieces present a look into the lesbian and queer politics of the time, when tensions were high in a period of homophobic violence and state censorship amid the US AIDS crisis.

Her work incorporates pro-choice protests and demonstrations against pharmaceutical profiteering to the queer punk scene and lesbian-run sex clubs, all representing political activism in their way. Christopher encourages thought on what it means to be presented and observed as lesbian, both then and now, and shares her representation that truly came straight from the source.

Phyllis Christopher: Contacts is at BALTIC, Gateshead from Saturday 23rd October-Sunday 20th March

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