Metro Weekly

Domesticated: Queer Interiors at BMA

The Baltimore Museum of Art documents LGBT home life in "Queer Interiors"

Queer Interiors: Jaimes mayhew and Rahne Alexander -- Photo: Jill Fannon

Queer Interiors: Jaimes mayhew and Rahne Alexander — Photo: Jill Fannon

“Queer lives are just as boring as everybody else’s,” Jaimes Mayhew says with a laugh. “Our houses are not all that dissimilar, even though a lot of laws have been made restricting what we do in private spaces.”

At the behest of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Mayhew and video artist Rahne Alexander have developed an installation collectively documenting domestic life for queer people. A bed, a quilt and a bookshelf are the three basic components of “Queer Interiors,” but there’s nothing basic about the year-long multimedia installation, developed in conjunction with Chase Brexton Health Care’s LGBT Health Resource Center.

Content for both the quilt and the bookshelf will continue to evolve through crowdsourcing, promising better, broader representation of the community as the year progresses. The multimedia hanging quilt, an homage to the AIDS quilt, is comprised of home videos and photographs that have been digitized and projected in an ever-changing display. The goal, says Alexander, was “to stitch together a community that’s often lumped under one acronym but not often seen together.”

There’s also the surreal size of the bed — a whopping 9×12 feet — “that people are invited to hang out on,” says Mayhew. Draped in a multicolor cover, the bed is fashioned from 12 different blocks, each representing a different way LGBT people identify. “There’s this tradition within queer communities of making a flag for your identity,” Mayhew explains. The flags range from the well-established — LGBT rainbow, Leather Pride — to the more recent, including Genderqueer and Genderfluid.

“I’m excited to see how this unfolds and to see how it affects the community,” Mayhew says. Adds Alexander: “I’m hoping that we get to a place where we’ve got too much data…going well beyond its year lifespan, to see where it’s going to go after that.”

The Opening Party for “Queer Interiors” is Friday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. The installation will remain on display through August 2017 in the Commons in the Education Center at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore. Call 443-573-1700 or visit artbma.org.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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