Photos: Eiteljorg Opens Gay Rodeo Exhibit

Hundreds gather to observe a photo exhibit of scenes from the International Gay Rodeos, as seen through the lens of Blake Little.

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On Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the Eiteljorg Museum celebrated the opening of a timely exhibit, Blake Little: Photographs of the Gay Rodeo, a collection of images centering on the International Gay Rodeos (IGR) from the late 1980s to early ‘90s. The museum held a private grand opening for the gallery on Friday evening, and a public opening followed on Saturday.

Friday night’s festivities included wine-and-food pairing presented by Bethann Kendall (wine buyer for Vine and Table) partnered with Kahn’s Catering. A few members of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus sang some old Western melodies, including a song from the musical Oklahoma!. John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO, welcomed photographer Blake Little and his audience to the event before City-County councilor Zach Adamson spoke about Little’s work and its meaning here and now for Indianapolis. Little gave a brief speech before everyone moved upstairs to view the gallery with the photographer.

Saturday’s events saw members of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus return to sing songs just outside the gallery. They also performed before a few reception-hall talks, as Gregory Hinton, affiliated with the Out West program at the museum, spoke about discovering Little’s photographs and presenting them to the Eiteljorg. Jim Wilke, a former rider in the IGR who is featured in the photo exhibit, spoke about what it was and is like to live as an openly gay individual in the American West. The artist, Little, finished things off by addressing the series at hand and his other projects.

Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo. Now through July 13. Eiteljorg Museum, 500 W. Washington St., 317-636-9378. eiteljorg.org.

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