Arts & Culture

some assembly required

BLAA mounts first exhibit since before the pandemic


In-person art viewing is making its return. It is a bittersweet return, with the pandemic still very much a thing, many important spaces now closed, and most of us traumatized by whatever losses Covid-19 ushered into our lives. For many of us queers, the pandemic hit especially hard. As so many of us are already without traditional support systems, viable opportunities for employment, and other important resources, the isolation from community connections was devastating.

The Boston LGBTQIA+ Artist Alliance(BLAA) is preparing to open a new group exhibit at The Distillery Gallery that offers an entry point into reconnecting and rebuilding a queer creative community in Boston. some assembly required , opening June 7th, brings together several artists from different generations, working in a broad range of practices, to present a small taste of the vast culture of queer art in Boston.

Connectivity is a central theme of some assembly required. The gallery has been transformed into a particularly interactive space, with work that looms over the viewer as well as beckons them to look in more traditional ways. Work that was originally a public art installation has been reinstalled in the gallery with references to its first iteration, playing with ideas about place influencing perception. Other works reference queer spaces that no longer exist, or places that have drastically changed over time, calling into question and considering the possibilities of belonging.

Striving to represent queerness in an art exhibit is a difficult achievement, because what constitutes queerness is a complex and eclectic spectrum. By bringing this group of artists together, the show’s curators and programmers illustrate that absolute representation isn’t possible, and that openness to the other, to the different, is at the heart of what makes queer life a political act. BLAA’s recent insistence on cinematic forms as integral parts of queer art culture is a prevalent part of some assembly required, highlighting the influence media has on collective thought, and why a queer presence is of the utmost importance.

So if you’re planning on seeing some art in a gallery with people any time soon, this exhibit promises an invigorating arrangement of creative voices of queers celebrating and promoting other queers. Don’t miss the chance to be part of something special, a hopeful gesture toward a strange and uncertain future. On view at The Distillery Gallery in South Boston from June 7th through July 23rd.


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