Many objects in the collection of the Berlinische Galerie have direct or indirect connections to queer subject matter: because the artists are or were members of the community, or because their art navigates issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. For example, works by Nan Goldin (* 1953), Hannah Höch (1889–1978) and Herbert Tobias (1924–1982) represent perspectives of the LGBTQI* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and inter*) communities that are too often overlooked.
The online project "Out and About", initiated by trainees of the Berlinische Galerie, investigates the queer legibilities of photographs, paintings, works on paper and one piece of video art. Giving voice to a diversity of perspectives, outside authors were invited to respond to selected objects. Their contributions enrich and supplement the texts by the team of trainees, who are predominantly white and heterosexual. The project considers the artists’ relationships to their artworks as well as social and historical references to queer lived realities. The title "Out and About" is in part a literal invocation of the idiom – the act of openly inhabiting the public sphere – often after an extended period of being unable to do so. It also alludes to "coming out of the closet", a phrase many LGBTQI* individuals use for moments when they have claimed their queer identities both for themselves and in front of others.
In addition to presenting the works on the website and in the online collection, the Berlinische Galerie will be organising a varied programme of associated events, including a film screening curated in cooperation with the "XPOSED Queer Film Festival Berlin".
With "Out and About", the trainees hope to raise the visibility of alternative walks of life within heteronormative social structures – in the 1920s, the Nazi era, Germany’s postwar period and the present day. By doing so, they are advocating for greater queer visibilities within the collection of the Berlinische Galerie.