With increasing visibility for queer folks and queer stories in popular culture (see: the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, FX’s Pose, and RuPaul’s Drag Race—now in its eleventh season), it’s important to take a look at how we got here. This session of Optics commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots, and examines how Stonewall’s legacy has contributed to a visual language of queer resistance over the last 50 years. How have images of queerness—and those made from a queer lens—troubled and expanded (inter)national understandings of human rights, community, anger, and celebration?

Join journalist and curator Sarah Burke and Optics series host Reya Sehgal for this discussion on what the queer eye can see, featuring a special performance by Untitled Queen.

This is a free event, but please register in advance. ICP Members have access to preferred seating in our reserved members’ section.

Our ICP Museum–public program combination ticket grants $10 entry starting at 4:30 PM to those attending the program. Tickets are only available online when you register for the program.

About the Series

Hosted by artist and curator Reya Sehgal, Optics: A New Way of Seeing Contemporary Culture invites critics, artists, and imagemakers to analyze the pictures that shape contemporary culture and current events. The series considers the images, visual communications, and vision-related technologies that impact our times. In our current image-saturated society of 24-hour news cycles, social media, and memes, an understanding of the ways in which pictures are shaped, produced, distributed, remixed, and go viral is vital to an understanding of culture itself.


Sarah Burke is a journalist and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing focuses on art, identity, social justice, technology, and the intersections therein. She is currently special projects editor at Broadly, co-host of the podcast Queerly Beloved, and co-curator of the series Living Room Light Exchange New York.

Untitled Queen is a visual artist, drag queen, and graphic designer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She creates elaborate, colorful handmade DIY costumes and sculptural body props that are used in intensely emotional and narrative drag performances. Through these means she challenges and dismantles constructed binaries of American body, thought, and ideology. Her recent work is a rumination on post-colonial American citizenship and its repercussions and origins. matthewdeleon.com

Reya Sehgal is an interdisciplinary artist and curator based in New York City. She has curated exhibitions and public programs at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Brown University, Queens Museum, Project for Empty Space, Knockdown Center, and BRIC. Her artistic work has been seen, and experienced, at the DUMBO Arts Festival, AS220, Distillery Gallery, RISD Museum, Arab American National Museum, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Sehgal is a member of the DIVERSITY FELLOWS! performance collaborative, and currently serves as the post-graduate fellow in visual culture at the International Center of Photography.


Image: Anthony Friedkin, Michelle, Female Impersonator, “C'est La Vie” Club, North Hollywood, 1972. International Center of Photography, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon, 2011 (2011.69.1) © Anthony Friedkin