This Pride month has started out a little different compared to others. In lieu of typical celebrations, many in the LGBTQ+ community have banded together in solidarity with Black Lives Matter demonstrators, harkening back to when Pride, itself, was born out of protests. The pandemic has also caused a number of the events, parades, and exhibitions that would have celebrated the LGBTQ+ community, its legacy, and the next steps in its fight for equality to be cancelled or, in some cases, to be put online. As we’ve all learned, nothing can replace the camaraderie felt when we come together in celebration, but for now, here are a few online exhibitions to celebrate Pride and artists within the LGBTQ+ community.
50 Years of Pride | The GLBT Historical Society & San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries
You might recall that last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising – a police raid on a known gay bar in New York City that resulted in the days of protest around Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Inn was located. On June 27, 1970, San Francisco’s Polk Street was filled with a small group of LGBTQ people to commemorate the one-year anniversary of what was called “Christopher Street Liberation Day.” Now, the GLBT Historical Society of San Francisco and the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries are looking back at how Pride in San Francisco has evolved since that June day in 1970 with “50 Years of Pride.” Curated by Lenore Chinn and Pamela Peniston, the exhibition highlights many moments, from San Francisco Pride’s “humble origins” to the mass gatherings more commonly seen today. The online exhibition brings together about 50 photographs, showcasing different groups that have been a part of San Francisco Pride over the decades, giving a glimpse at a larger exhibition that will open later this year at San Francisco City Hall.
Documentary: inside two blockbuster Hockney exhibitions | Royal Academy & Seventh Art Productions
Not only is David Hockney one of the biggest names in Modern art, but he’s long been a leading light within the LGBTQ+ artist community. His early years as an artist were during a time when simply being homosexual was illegal, but Hockney never hid the topic from his works. In countless paintings, Hockney depicted, explored, and celebrated gay love and the male nude in his now iconic style. Taking advantage of this unique moment in time, the Royal Academy highlighting the artist, now in his 90s, by revisiting two Hockney exhibitions that were held at the RA in 2012 and 2016. To do so, they’ve released Exhibition of Screen: David Hockney RA, a film by Seventh Art Productions that was originally shown in theatres. The Hockney edition of Seventh Art Productions’ series covers both “A Bigger Picture” and “82 Portraits and One Still-Life,” two major exhibitions of works by Hockney. The film offers an unusual gallery experience in which you see the exhibitions from your own home, but with commentary from Hockney himself, and other art experts.
Mickalene Thomas: Better Nights | The Bass
Viewing this exhibition from home will be somewhat like Inception: viewing an immersive living room experience form your own living room. “Better Nights” takes viewers back in time, to the 1970s, to be exact, to celebrate the work of Mickalene Thomas while paying homage to her late mother. Among the hottest names in the art world at the moment, Thomas’ works often deal with female sexuality, power, and beauty in a manner that verges on “too much.” Thomas’ exhibition takes you through an apartment environment inspired by her mother, who hosted parties at her New Jersey home and helped organize and perform the play “Put a Little Sugar in my Bowl.” Wood paneling, mirrored walls, patchwork upholstery, and more compliment Thomas’ works, and in many cases, it’s hard to tell where the art stops and the walls begin.
Robert Gober: Sculpture, Photographs, and Works on Paper | Matthew Marks Gallery
For five decades, artist Robert Gober has created paired down artworks dealing with matters of sexuality, politics, religion, and nature. In an exhibition of works presented online by Matthew Marks Gallery, viewers have the opportunity to come face to face with Gober’s creations, from the 1970s through the present. A number of his artworks, including Hanging Man/Sleeping Man (1989) and Newspaper (1992), are particularly poignant as we reflect on the evolution of Pride today, work through issues of racism and police brutality that have brought people into the streets as we speak, as well as political turmoil. Gober’s works are striking in their simplicity and are summed up well in a snippet from a New York Times article that considered them to be “minimal forms with maximum content.”