Experience the grit, determination and community of the national gay rodeo circuit in classic black-and-white photographs in Gilcrease Museum’s new exhibition, Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo, on view June 22 – November 25, 2018.
Since its founding in 1949, Gilcrease has led the way for artwork showcasing the American West, including depictions of the iconic cowboy. Photographer Blake Little provides an expansive redefinition of what a cowboy can be in his images capturing scenes of camaraderie, identity and sport in one of America’s most time-honored traditions.
The 41 black and white photographs taken by Blake Little between 1988 and 1992 in Photographs from the Gay Rodeo document the gay rodeo circuit and the lives of many of its participants in those years. The collected body of work not only serves as a stunning example of black and white portraiture and of rodeo photography, it also explores the diverse and complex natures of individual and community identity in the West.
“Blake Little’s photographs demonstrate that cowboy traditions in the United States include diverse individuals and communities, broadening notions of identity in the American West,” said Laura Fry, senior curator and curator of art at Gilcrease Museum. “These photos show many LGBT men and women from rural areas, and the gay rodeo circuit provided a place where they could celebrate their full identities. The International Gay Rodeo Association is still going strong today and includes annual events in Oklahoma.”
Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo is curated by Johanna Blume, assistant curator of Western art at the Eiteljorg Museum and is offered through the courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, Ind.
A Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.