Late Thursday: Pride & Paintings 2023 | MSK Gent
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Late Thursday: Pride & Paintings 2023

20230504 MSK Pride and Paintings c Martin Corlazzoli COR09833
Valentina Tóth © Martin Corlazzoli

On Thursday 4 May 2023, the Ghent drag collective House of Lux hosted the MSK’s first-ever queer evening. This mini-festival gave museum visitors an opportunity to see a wide variety of acts in the museum galleries and to explore the boundaries between fine art and queer performance.

The MSK launched Belgium’s first LGBTQ+ museum tour in 2022. Logically, the next step was to organise a queer museum event among the works. From 5 to 11 p.m., House of Lux and their guests transformed the galleries into a stage for queer expression, while MSK guides conducted LGBTQ+ tours.

In gallery 19 visitors were able to sketch life models, with someone on hand to help. Performers held nothing back and gave everyone plenty to draw.

In gallery 18, among paintings by Félix De Vigne and other artists, Dutch singer Valentina Tóth presented her emancipated version of a song by K3 and sang the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte.

For this special occasion, the Lambeaux gallery served as a ballroom where artistes Ihana, Ramses Gabanna and Angel Felizz demonstrated their impressive voguing skills in three improvisational sessions. They took their inspiration from the sculptures in the gallery.

In gallery 5, alongside Raphael Coxie’s Last Judgement and other works, Joppe De Campeneere and Madonna Lenaert reflected on homoerotic depictions of bodies in art and other themes in their podcast Flikker Op.

Pole dancers Princess Tokio and Puka Moon amazed visitors with their spectacular synchronised choreography in the Hemicycle.

And to close the evening, a cross-shaped catwalk in the large central hall was the site of a ‘grand show’ with acts by Susan from Grindr, Krietjur, Mauve Lux, Belligerency, Ding Dong Dolores, Gabrielle Duchesse Divine and Martyrio. In an hour-long show that included tongue-in-cheek references to the museum setting, they proved that ‘Drag is art!’

We sincerely hope that initiatives like this one will bring about surprising interactions between young and old - or younger and older - art and help make the MSK a place where everyone gets the space they deserve. This evening was the first of many steps that the museum intends to take so that visitors can enjoy the familiar galleries in an entirely new way.