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Published June 24, 2022
A new exhibition at the University of Wyoming Art Museum offers an intimate glimpse into the community of the queer rodeo circuit.
“Luke Gilford: Portraits of the Queer Frontier” presents photographs that document the diverse and ever-evolving queer rodeo community. The images convey Gilford’s self-proclaimed “electric charge of belonging” when he discovered the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) as an adult in 2016.
An iconic sporting event of the American West, rodeo calls to mind strength, independence, rugged determination and grit. Gilford’s photographs speak the same visual language while simultaneously subverting mainstream expectations of gender, sexuality and rural self-expression.
Photographer and director Gilford was born in Denver, Colo. With his father in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Gilford spent his formative years around the rodeo community. It was years later -- when he discovered the IGRA -- that he began to see himself as part of a rodeo family.
Gilford is based in Los Angeles and New York City. His work has been exhibited in venues around the world, including New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam and Sundance’s NEXT FEST. His work also has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Vogue. His first photography monograph, “National Anthem,” was published in 2020.
“Luke Gilford: Portraits of the Queer Frontier” is funded through the Susan Moldenhauer FUNd for Contemporary Art. The exhibition is on view through Dec. 23.
The UW Art Museum exhibits, preserves and interprets visual culture from around the world to engage academic, local, state, national and global communities. The art museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 E. Willett Drive in Laramie. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday hours are extended to 7 p.m. Admission is free.