Skip to Main Content
Research Guides@Tufts

Tufts University Art Galleries: Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant: As the World Burns: Queer Photography and Nightlife in Boston

Exhibition Overview

As the World Burns: Queer Photography and Nightlife in Boston explores the relationship among community photographic practices, queer nightlife, and gay liberation in Boston. In the early 1970s, the Boston area became an important hub of gay culture, activism, Tufts University Art Galleries Logoand nightlife, and home to a flourishing scene of photography. Many queer artists and community members, such as Avram Finkelstein, Gail Thacker, and Allen Frame, among others, turned to photography to chronicle, elevate, and enrich their disparate experiences of nightlife.  

As the World Burns assembles a non-chronological archive of lesser-known images, collections, and stories across three overlapping categories of nightlife photography, rarely in conversation with one another in art history or curatorial practice: (1) works by photographers involved in teaching and exhibition contexts of “fine art”; (2) works by photographers contributing to the gay press; and (3) vernacular works by other community members. This exhibition reveals that nightlife practices and photographic projects alike contributed to the production and consolidation of LGBTQ identities and communities in the public realm during a period of tremendous tumult and transformation. Coming out, going out, photographing, and being photographed were intertwined activities through which new forms of queerness and community became visible. 

Queer Nightlife

Gail Thacker, Jack in Tub, 1980. Analog color print 16 x 20 inCourtesy of Candice Madey © Gail Thacker Photo: Adam Reich

Tufts Resource

Open Access

Gay Press in Boston

Allen Frame, Kevin in polka-dotted dress, Cambridge, 1974, Gelatin silver print, Courtesy Gitterman Gallery © Allen Frame

Open Access