FIRST AIRED: April 3, 2017

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>> These works of art are deeply personal. In some cases, they were dangerous to produce, and in others, scandalizing to those that viewed them. Marking 50 years since the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality in England and Wales, this exhibition is the first dedicated to what they're calling Queer British Art from 1861 to 1967.
From the playful to the political, at a time when terms such as lesbian, gay and bisexual were relatively unheard of, let alone accepted.>> I'm Reuters' Emily at Britain in Central London. Two artists that really push the boundaries is David and Francis Bacon. It's hard to believe that works like these were once considered huge controversial.
>> An exhibition of Bacon's work in 1955 was investigated by the police for obscenity. The curator, Claire Barlow, says growing up in the 80s was tough when local authorities were prevented from supporting any projects that were perceived to promote a gay lifestyle. There was very much a sort of perception that this gay thing, as it used to get referred to, was all very new, and if we all shut up about it, it would go away again.
That was actually pretty crushing for me, and one of the things that I think this exhibition offers is a wide range of different experiences, different possibilities.>> Some of the works on show cannot be publicly displayed at the time, like this one from 1865. Simeon Solomon's The Bride, The Bridegroom, and Sad Love.
Shows a melancholy lover as he moves on to the respectability of a heterosexual union. That these hidden desires expressed through art are now sent to stage reflects just how much attitudes have changed.