Joan Jett Blakk for President, by Joan Jett Blakk (1992)

Take an audio tour through Kiss My Genders

Featuring over 100 artists and spanning 50 years, this exhibition celebrates work engaging with gender identity, in a time we need these conversations more than ever.

The gen­der debate has been a hot top­ic for some time, and it comes with good rea­son. Slow­ly but sure­ly, mea­sures are tak­ing place to ensure the world-at-large is acces­si­ble for every­one (regard­less of sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion) but there’s still a whole load of work to be done. 

After all, gen­der is mere­ly a spec­trum, right? As for any­one who dis­agrees, they can kiss my ass. Or Kiss My Gen­ders, as the Hay­ward Gallery’s lat­est exhi­bi­tion is so right­ly titled.

Fea­tur­ing over 100 art­works by 35 artists from around the world – both emerg­ing and estab­lished, Kiss My Gen­ders hones in on the explo­ration of gen­der iden­ti­ty and gen­der flu­id­i­ty span­ning the past 50 years. Con­sid­er­ing and chal­leng­ing what gen­der’ means, the artists, who main­ly iden­ti­fy as gen­der non-bina­ry and go by the gen­der-neu­tral pro­noun they’, large­ly use play­ful­ness and cel­e­bra­tion as a tool to com­bat the polit­i­cal nature of the theme, with gen­der being inher­ent­ly polit­i­cal as it is. When ten­sions relat­ing to the lives of LGBTQ+ peo­ple are con­sis­tent­ly hit­ting intense highs and lows (and in light of yet anoth­er homo­pho­bic attack in the cap­i­tal), Kiss My Gen­ders is a refresh­ing­ly bold insight into how gen­der affects those involved in the pol­i­tics of it, but is also a well-need­ed reminder that there is hope for change not just here, but globally. 

Draw­ing on their own expe­ri­ences, the artists fea­tured include Joan Jett Blakk, Vic­to­ria Sin, Kent Monkman, Peter Hujar, Lyle Ash­ton Har­ris and Flo Brooks, whose work was recent­ly acquired for the nation by The Arts Coun­cil Col­lec­tion. Below, Vin­cent Hon­oré, the exhibition’s cura­tor, gives us an audio tour.

Installation view of Victoria Sin, A View from Elsewhere, Act 1, She Postures in Context (2018), in Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery. Copyright the artist, courtesy Hayward Gallery 2019. Photo: Thierry Bal

Listen now: Victoria Sin
Listen now: Peter Hujar

Installation view of Lyle Ashton Harris in Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery. Copyright the artist, courtesy the artist, Salon 94 and Baldwin Gallery. Photo: Thierry Bal

Listen now: Lyle Ashton Harris

Flo Books, YessSIR! Back off! Tell me who I am again?!, 2018. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist.

Listen now: Flo Brooks

Stag Hunting by Kent Monkman (2018)

Listen now: Kent Monkman

Joan Jett Blakk for President, by Joan Jett Blakk (1992)

Listen now: Joan Jett Blackk

Kiss My Gen­ders is open from 12th June til 8th Sep­tem­ber at Hay­ward Gallery


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