by Patric Stillman
The Studio Door art gallery is demonstrating its commitment to artistic evolution by expanding the annual PROUD+ national exhibition. By including a collaboration with the founding father of queer art history, a performance by a spoken word storyteller, and internationally renowned artists, the gallery is pushing boundaries and embracing diverse artistic expressions.
The PROUD+ exhibition, produced by The Studio Door, will feature the artwork of 50 contemporary artists from across the nation who identify as LGBTQIA+.
This showcase provides a platform for these artists to share their talent and perspectives with a broader audience.
The exhibition is curated with the support of Jonathan D. Katz, a well-known figure in the art world. Katz is recognized for his work on significant exhibitions such as “Hide/Seek” in 2010 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and the traveling exhibition “Art AIDS America” in 2015. His expertise and involvement ensure that the exhibition maintains a high standard of curation and reflects the significance of queer art.
“How grateful I am to have a role with PROUD+ because this is all piling up,” Katz said. “Each of our individual endeavors are slowly shifting the perimeters of what the art world understands itself to be.”
The PROUD+ visual arts exhibit will be open to the public through July 29. This extended period allows visitors ample time to appreciate and engage with the diverse artworks on display before and after San Diego Pride weekend. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the talent and creativity of LGBTQIA+ artists, while also promoting a deeper understanding of queer expression.
“The Studio Door thrives by breaking free from traditional museum constraints,” said local artist RD Riccoboni. “It works harder to showcase boundary-pushing art and amplify underrepresented talent. You even have access to LGBTQ+ museum collected artists to build your collection. If you think you have to go to New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles for queer culture, think again!”
Participating artists include Tom Acevedo, Brandin Barón, Leah Sarah Bassett, Joanna Biondolillo, Tanner Blackwell, Ryan Brandimore, Miguel Camacho-Padilla, Kaline Carter, Maurice Cassidy, Denni Danieli-Polloni, Trevor David, Roy De Vries, Yvette Deas, Thomas Diethert, Timothy Doane, Stevan Dupus, Jillian Elliott, Irwin Freeman, Olivia Fry, Dmitriy Gushchin, Colette Hebert, Tom Hill, Gerard Huber, Jenn Johnson, Celine Krempp, Peter Moen, Hunter O’Hanian, Ross Ozer, Monique Parker, Lauren Patch, Devon Reiffer, Jude Ribisi, RD Riccoboni, Lexi Richey, Sophia Rogers, Silky Shoemaker, Sam Snell, Charlie Spadone, Stefan Talian, Teemstir, HM Thompson, Aries Tjhin, John Waiblinger, Danny Warhole, Tim Weedlun, Danielle Wogulis and Kelsey Worth.
“I believe PROUD+ creates a wonderful sample of diverse dynamics of the LGBTQIA+ community,” said artist Stevan Dupus. “As my artwork strives to document our bar communities that have served as a safe space for so many decades, I feel it’s important for me to be part of the exhibition to contribute that importance to the celebration of our lives.”
On the evening of July 1, the gallery held a special one-person performance of “Searching for Secret,” by local artist Maurice Cassidy [Cassidy’s work was featured in LGBTQ San Diego County News, June 6, 2023, Volume 4, Issue 17, Page 13; also found online bit.ly/3JFYwrg]. This thought-provoking performance delved fearlessly into human experiences, exploring suicide, mental health, sexuality, and addiction. Through powerful storytelling, it raised awareness and encouraged dialogue that spoke to the LGBTQ+ community. Cassidy’s raw and vulnerable expression created a transformative experience, inspiring reflection and promoting understanding of the trials faced by our Trans friends. In just one hour, the show served as a stirring reminder that Pride is about more than celebrations — it is about the bonds we form through love and loss.
In addition to the national PROUD+ exhibition, the gallery will be showcasing a selection of distinctive works of both Amos Badertscher and Del LaGrace Volcano from Katz’s private collection. These works create a powerful dialogue between the underground narratives of [Baltimore, Maryland’s] streets and the bold exploration of gender and sexuality. It invites the viewers to engage with the rich artistic journeys of these internationally renowned artists, providing a unique opportunity to appreciate their vision and contribute to the ongoing conversations about art, identity and society.
Overall, The Studio Door art gallery’s commitment to artistic evolution and inclusivity is evident in the expansion and curation of the PROUD+ exhibition. It serves as an important platform for LGBTQIA+ artists to share their voices and stories.
The sixth annual PROUD+ exhibition runs through July 29, at The Studio Door art gallery, located at 3867 Fourth Ave., in Hillcrest. Gallery hours are free to the public on Tuesday through Saturday from Noon to 7 pm. The public is encouraged to support the artists and gallery through the purchase of artworks. A gallery reception for the exhibit with local artists will be held on Saturday, July 8, from 6-9 pm.—Patric Stillman is a visual artist and contemporary art gallery owner of The Studio Door. You can reach him at [email protected].