Pride

Must-See Galleries, Rainbow Crosswalks, Museums, and More for Chicago Pride Month

Del LaGrace Volcano, MOJ of the Antarctic, Open Arms Antarctica/Courtesy of Wrightwood 659

Happy Pride Month! This June is an especially significant one, as it marks 50 years since the Stonewall uprising, and there are countless Pride events happening to honor the LGBTQ+ community and recognize the impact it has had in the world. Of course, you can attend the massive Chicago Pride Parade on June 30, but here are a few other art-centric ways to keep yourself busy—and educated—this month.

“About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art” at Wrightwood 659
Its curator claims this is the largest exhibition of queer art ever staged, and it certainly seems like it is: Nearly 500 works by contemporary international artists make up this survey, which considers the legacy of the Stonewall uprising. A huge bulk of these artists are emerging or have been largely overlooked, so expect to spend at least a few hours getting acquainted with this diverse group.

Leather Archives & Museum
Definitely one of the coolest institutions in Chicago, this museum celebrates the history of leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish with a permanent collection of art and objects, as well as a gallery of rotating exhibitions. Highlights include the Dungeon, a room of erotic artifacts, including a spanking bench, and re-creations of leather bars.

Photo courtesy of the Northalsted Business Alliance

Crosswalks in Boystown
In anticipation of the 2019 Pride Parade, the North Side neighborhood has installed more than a dozen rainbow-hued crosswalks. Seen from above, they form a giant rainbow; each one, of course, also makes for a great setting to snap an Instagram selfie with partners and pals.

A Pride Art Show by Queer Underground Creators
Don’t miss this event if you’re into illustration or comics. Local artists will be sharing their zines and posters, and everything is for sale at affordable prices.
Details: June 14

“Out of the Closets & Into the Streets” at Gerber/Hart Library and Archives
For those keen to reflect on history, you can learn about the development of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Movement in the ’60s and ’70s at this exhibition. It explores how various activists and organizations brought resistance into the public eye and is sure to inspire as we continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

LGBTQ Slogan and Pride Parade Pins at Howard Brown Health System Pharmacy
An exhibition in a Walgreens isn’t something you see every day, but the store in this building participates in Pride Month with a special display of Pride parade pins. The oldest: a Freak Fag Revolutionary button made after the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was held in this city.

Queer Crafting at Center on Halsted
Here’s a great opportunity to meet some creative people in an intimate, nonparty setting. Choose your craft of choice, be it knitting, painting, or scrapbooking, and do your thing during this chill gathering session for LGBTQ+ folks and their allies.
Details: June 16

Laura Aguilar, Nature Self-Portrait #2, 1996. Gelatin silver print. © Laura Aguilar / Courtesy of the Laura Aguilar Trust of 2016 and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center

LGBTQ Landmarks Tour
On a nice day, set out on a self-guided tour through gay Chicago history. Choose Chicago has an easy-to-follow route that will take you from the South Side all the way north to Rogers Park, stopping at landmarks like the residence of lesbian novelist Valerie Taylor and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, which honors the eponymous social justice leader.

“Show and Tell” at the National Museum of Mexican Art
Laura Aguilar was a queer Latinx photographer who captured the human body, including her own, in frank and tender images. Don’t miss this massive survey of her work, featuring photographs of queer communities in downtown Los Angeles and many self-portraits of herself as one with the landscape.