Spring exhibitions

Spring exhibitions

Tufts University Art Galleries

[1] Christian Walker, The Theater Project (detail), 1983–4. Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 in. © Christian Walker. [2] Kenneth Tam, Silent Spikes (still), 2021. Two-channel HD video, sound, 20:29 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Photos: Jason Mandella.

January 24, 2024
Spring exhibitions
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Aidekman Arts Center, Medford
Kenneth Tam: Standing in Soft Formation
January 24–April 21, 2024
Reception: Wednesday, January 24, 6–8pm

SMFA at Tufts, Boston
Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant &
As the World Burns: Queer Photography and Nightlife in Boston
January 24–April 21, 2024
Reception: Thursday, February 1, 6–8pm

Tufts University Art Galleries (TUAG) are proud to announce three spring 2024 exhibitions that explore shapeshifting conceptions of gender and sexuality throughout modern history.

In Medford, Kenneth Tam: Standing in Soft Formation, features the artist’s most recent projects, Silent Spikes (2021) and The Founding of the World (2023). Shown in dialogue for the first time, they explore historical and present-day tropes of Anglo-American masculinity and their impact on Asian American identities: first through the invisible migrant labor that fueled the nineteenth-century dream of the American West, and then through the fraught rituals of the college fraternity, featuring Tam’s choreographed video, photography, and sculpture. Centered around immersive, performative videos that work with groups of non-actor participants, the two projects layer the rigidity and harshness of these male-centric worlds with a focus on creating intimacies and shared vulnerabilities. Together, the installations complicate and counter prevailing sociocultural constructs of American manhood—its heteronormativity, machismo, and white privilege—and the expectations we bring as viewers to such imagery. Organized, in part, by Ballroom Marfa.

In Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant  surveys the work of artist, critic, and curator Christian Walker (1953–2003). A 1984 graduate of the SMFA, Walker was a path-making gay Black photographer active in Boston and Atlanta. Walker made compelling and experimental work about queer sexuality, race, and their intersections from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. In the mid-1980s, his artistic practice shifted from documentary photography and portraiture to alternative photographic processes involving multiple exposures, archival appropriation, and the integration of paint and nontraditional materials. Walker’s artworks, criticism, and exhibition-making addressed myriad subjects including queer public sex, interracial intimacy, HIV/AIDS, censorship, drug use, and Blackness and whiteness in public and private image cultures. Organized by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and co-curated by Jackson Davidow and Noam Parness.

Also on view in Boston, As the World Burns: Queer Photography and Nightlife in Boston accompanies Christian Walker’s work and explores the relationship among community photographic practices, queer nightlife, and gay liberation in Boston, curated by Jackson Davidow. In the early 1970s, the Boston area became an important hub of gay culture, activism, and nightlife, and home to a flourishing scene of photography. Many queer artists and community members turned to photography to chronicle, elevate, and enrich their disparate experiences of nightlife. 

For a full listing of programs and events, visit our website.

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Tufts University Art Galleries
January 24, 2024

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