SN37 Gallery: Luke Gilford: National Anthem

SN37 presents the fourth exhibition at her non-profit gallery at the Seaport in New York City: national anthem through Luke Gilford. The show is Gilford’s first solo show in New York. The work Gilford is presenting is the result of years of documenting the unique subculture within the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) – the governing body for the LGBTQ+ cowboy and cowgirl communities in North America.

Gilford’s father was a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, so he grew up around rodeo, but it wasn’t until he discovered IGRA that he was able to see himself as a part of that community. His work on the national anthem aims to recognize and bring to light thriving queer communities in rural areas of the United States and the deep kinship within them.

Printed on a larger than life scale, the characters of the national anthem demand to be confronted, thereby rejecting the invisibility that neglect and rejection all too often inflict upon them. As Gilford spent time with IGRA members and their neighbors, he found solace in the unexpected openness he experienced, which he described as “the electric charge of belonging.” Through this exhibit, Gilford hopes to connect with members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have left their hometowns in search of a more welcoming environment, and to build on the communal love and caring that is so evident in the city.

“One of the great powers of queer rodeo is its ability to break down America’s tribal cleavages that can’t contain who we really are — liberal versus conservative, urban versus rural, ‘coastal elite’ versus ‘Central America,'” notes Gilford. “I am honored to share this work on such a large scale in New York City and to celebrate the beauty of this community and what it represents. I look forward to connecting with others who have come to the city from rural areas and hopefully inspiring anyone who wants to expand their experiences to include more nature and community in safe spaces.”

In addition to presenting these images for the first time in New York, SN37 has reprinted a limited edition of 150 copies of Gilford’s popular 2020 national anthem monograph, available at the gallery while supplies last. SN37 has made a conscious decision to donate the proceeds of each exhibition to the Artists’ Choice organization; Proceeds from the sale of select work from Gilford’s show will be donated to the International Gay Rodeo Association. The national anthem can be seen from July 14 to August 28, 2022.

Luke Gilford is a Denver, Colorado native filmmaker and photographer. He studied art at UCLA and his photographs and films have been exhibited worldwide, including at MoMA in New York, FOAM in Amsterdam and at Sundance’s NEXT Festival. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Gilford received a 2017 Webby Award for Best Drama for Connected, a film he wrote and directed. In 2016, Gilford began touring the South West for four years documenting the diverse and ever-evolving queer rodeo circus – culminating in National Anthem – Gilford’s first monograph, published by Damiani Books in 2020. Gilford currently resides between Los Angeles and New York City.

Luke Gilford: National Anthem
July 14, 2022 – August 28, 2022
SN37 Gallery
204 Vorderstr
New York, NY 10038

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