In honor of World Pride, 2019 and Stonewall 50, we reflect on the contributions made to the art world by members of the LGBTQ community. Here we present seven artists representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.
1. Juliana Huxtable
Juliana Huxtable combines and reinvents cultural histories, questioning the presentation and perception of identity in artworks that often use her own body. In Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm) (2015), the surrounding landscape and the references to Nubian and Egyptian cultures recall a style of portraiture popular in African-American communities, highlighting an aspirational and triumphant portrayal of black identity. At the same time, by adopting an overtly feminized and sexualized posture, the artist, who was born intersex and raised male, emphasizes her body, at once celebrating it and interrogating normative attitudes toward gender and queer sexuality. Huxtable also works in other art forms, including poetry, and the lines between these parts of her practice are fluid.
(Courtesy of guggenheim.com)
Juliana Huxtable – Untitled in the Rage (Nibiru Cataclysm)
2. Deborah Kass
Deborah Kass is a contemporary American artist. With a practice spanning across media and disciplines, Kass’ work is notable for her pointed feminist critique. Through her use of appropriation, she often mimics the work and styles of male artists to comment on and rewrites the patriarchal narrative of art history. Often working in series, Kass forms a poignant and didactic political commentary while retaining a sense of self-reference with her autobiographical paintings, lyrics, and prose. “It was very clear to me that there was something new from a formalist point of view: a new, female subjectivity,” she has said of the 1970s art world. “It’s quite stunning to think about all the women who were painting in New York and all the men they’ve influenced.
(Courtesy of Artnet)
Deborah Kass – OMG, 2013
3. Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas (lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) makes paintings, collages, photography, video, and installations that draw on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty, and power. Blurring the distinction between object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary, Thomas constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors in order to examine how identity, gender, and sense-of-self are informed by the ways women (and “feminine” spaces) are represented in art and popular culture.
(Courtesy of www.micklanethomas.com)
Din, Une Tres Belle Negresse 2, 2012
4. David Hockney
Already enshrined in the firmament of modern-day masters, Hockney is experiencing a late-career renaissance with a traveling career retrospective that currently resides in the Metropolitan Museum’s vaunted galleries until February 25. Known for his tender depictions of queer domestic life, the octogenarian painter’s exhibition reminds viewers that queerness can be just as gentle as it is radical. History is important, and the earliest of Hockney’s works hail from a time when homosexuality was still criminalized in both the United States and the artist’s native Britain. Regardless, Hockney depicted gay love from the very beginning of his career. See We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), an abstract, messy love letter to gay touch and queer revelation.
We Two Boys Together Clinging, 1961
Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture.
Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performative purposes. It is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories.
(Courtesy of cassils.net)
Advertisement: Homage to Benglis , 2011
6. Patricia Cronin
Since the early 1990s, Patricia Cronin has been reflecting the world back at itself in her paintings, sculptures, and installations, asserting her own feminist, lesbian perspective, and unflinchingly critiquing gender, marriage, and political inequalities. Cronin addresses lesbianism and female sexuality in her work. As she describes: “Besides reinvigorating traditional forms and injecting my specific contemporary political content, I think the main question all throughout my work—my career—has been: whose life has value? Whose body has value? And who decides?” Memorial to a Marriage (2002) exemplifies Cronin’s approach. Tender and daring, it is a gravestone showing herself and her partner, Deborah Kass, sleeping in a loving embrace in bed—defiantly memorializing their illegalized love.
(Courtesy of Artsy.com)
Memorial to a Marriage, 2002
7. David Wojnarowicz
For decades now, historians have attempted to reckon with the AIDS crisis of the 1980s as a force of both mobilization and decimation within the gay community. With exponentially increasing frequency, they point toward the work of David Wojnarowicz, a fervently political and highly personal artist who lived through the epidemic and died from it in 1992. Although Wojnarowicz has become the obvious inclusion for virtually every exhibition dealing with AIDS, his exact position within the history of queer art remains somewhat more elusive.
(Courtesy of them.us)
David Wojnarowicz, “Untitled (One day this kid . . .)”, 1990