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12 global queer art shows worth traveling for in 2023

From erotic midcentury art in England to a John Waters-inspired exhibit in Baltimore, here are a dozen must-see LGBTQ art shows on view around the world.

Time, place and movement are among the recurring themes in the many excellent exhibitions by and about LGBTQ artists currently on show at the world’s top museums. Celebrating queer Greeks and Black fembots, resurrecting underappreciated AIDS-era artists, and reframing folklore and ancestral memory from Haiti, India and Turtle Island, these are the can’t-miss shows for early 2023.

"Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Energy"

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

Nina Chanel Abney
Nina Chanel Abney's work on exhibit at Miami's Institute of Contemporary Art.Zachary Balber

With her signature cubistic color block collages peppered for this series by collegiate tartans, Nina Chanel Abney reframes pop culture depictions of Greek student life to highlight “the implicit flamboyance and homoeroticism of frat house and sorority house environments” and to question norms of racism and sexual desire in America.

Through March 12; a sister show, "Big Butch Synergy," runs through June 11 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

"Very Private?"

Charleston; Lewes, England

This untitled photograph by artist and activist Ajamu X is part of the "Very Private?" exhibit.
This untitled photograph by artist and activist Ajamu X is part of the "Very Private?" exhibit.Ajamu X

Charleston, the bucolic onetime Sussex home and studio of Bloomsbury Group artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf), presents a collection of recently rediscovered erotic drawings of same-sex desire made by Grant in the 1940s and ‘50s, alongside responses by six contemporary artists.

Through March 12.

"Leslie Martinez: The Secrecy of Water"

Blaffer Art Museum; Houston

A painting by Leslie Martinez on display at Houston's Blaffer Art Museum.
A painting by Leslie Martinez on display at Houston's Blaffer Art Museum.AND NOW, Dallas

In their first solo museum show, Dallas-based transgender and nonbinary artist Leslie Martinez presents a series of abstract paintings made tactile with elements like rags, recycled clothing and crushed stone, all exploring ideas of place, climate, landscape and personhood.

Through March 12. 

"Jacolby Satterwhite: We Are in Hell When We Hurt Each Other"

Blaffer Art Museum; Houston

Jacolby Satterwhite.
Jacolby Satterwhite.Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Also currently on show at the Blaffer is this monumental video by multimedia artist Jacolby Satterwhite, in which digital bodysuits translate the artist’s dance movements into animated, Black fembot forms, bringing together vogueing, 3D animation and drawing to explore the movement of his own queer body.

Through March 12.

"Bree Gant: Wend"

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Bree Gant
An installation view of "Bree Gant: Wend."Clare Gatto

Multidisciplinary artist Bree Gant, a native of Detroit’s West Side, presents a multichannel video installation that incorporates nearly a decade’s worth of their comprehensive study of time and movement, capturing mobility both ritualized and lived out on their daily commute via buses and sidewalks.

Through March 26.

"Stephen Sprouse: Rock | Art | Fashion"

Newfields; Indianapolis

Stephen Sprouse.
Installation view of Stephen Sprouse: "Rock l Art l Fashion."Eric Lubrick Court

Indiana native and innovator Stephen Sprouse (1953–2004) combined street style and high fashion to create designs that transformed the fashion world, making him one of America’s most influential designers. This Newfields exhibition showcases more than 60 of his ensembles, alongside the Indianapolis debut of close friend Andy Warhol’s 1984 double portrait of Sprouse.

Through April 2.

"Kent Monkman: Being Legendary"

Royal Ontario Museum; Toronto

Kent Monkman
Installation view of "Kent Monkman: Being Legendary."Paul Eekhoff

Pairing new original paintings by Cree artist Kent Monkman with a selection of cultural artifacts from the Royal Ontario Museum’s collections, this exhibition — as interpreted by Monkman’s shape-shifting, time-traveling, gender-fluid alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle — highlights how deeply Indigenous knowledge is embedded in the lands of Turtle Island.

Through April 16.

"Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè"

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Didier William
Installation view of "Didier William: Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè."Michael R. Lopez

Translated as “We’ve Left That All Behind,” this largest solo exhibition of Haitian-born and North Miami, Florida-raised Didier William’s work features more than 40 pieces spanning multiple media, including some of his newest paintings and his first monumental sculpture, a 12-foot wooden body emblematic of a Haitian religious column.

Through April 16.

"Chitra Ganesh: Dreaming in Multiverse"

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum; Miami

Chitra Ganesh
Chitra Ganesh's "Vitruvian Sky."Chitra Ganesh

This multimedia collection of works by Brooklyn, New York-based artist Chitra Ganesh includes a wall installation, video animations and a series of recent digital prints called "Multiverse Dreaming," inspired by a popular and folklore-rich Indian comic book from the 1960s, but reframed to center women and queer relationships.

Through April 16.

"Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection"

Baltimore Museum of Art

Artwork from John Waters' collection on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Artwork from John Waters' collection on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art.Baltimore Museum of Art

Photographer Catherine Opie and artist Jack Pierson guest curate this explosively queer exhibition of some 90 paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints from among the more than 370 by 125 artists that Baltimore native John Waters recently donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art, in works that often mirror Waters’ famously witty, abstract and absurdist sensibilities.

Through April 16. 

"Jimmy DeSana: Submission"

Brooklyn Museum; New York

Jimmy DeSanna.
A photograph of performance artist Stephen Varble taken by Jimmy DeSana in 1975.Allen Phillips

This first museum survey of the important but often overlooked work of photographer Jimmy DeSana (1949–1990) traces his prolific career through nearly 200 works spanning more than 20 years, showcasing his underground aesthetic and his resistance to dominant narratives about the body and sexuality during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Through April 16.

"Darrel Ellis: Regeneration"

Baltimore Museum of Art

Darrel Ellis.
Darrel Ellis. Untitled (Laure on Easter Sunday). c. 1989–1991. Darrel Ellis Estate and Candice Madey, New York

Co-organized with The Bronx Museum of the Arts (where the exhibition continues in May), this first comprehensive museum show of the works of Darrel Ellis (1958–1992) presents his moving, multifaceted and underappreciated oeuvre, in which he merged painting, printmaking, photography and drawing prior to his death of AIDS-related causes at only 33.

Through April 23.