Check out the Art & Queer Culture gallery

Ahead of this weekend's Pride Parades we look back at some art protests and celebrations
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Julia Martin, Julia Bredt and Self dressed up as men, 4:40 p.m., Oct. 15th, 1891 by Alice Austen

1 / 11 Julia Martin, Julia Bredt and Self dressed up as men, 4:40 p.m., Oct. 15th, 1891 by Alice Austen

Swimming (1883–85) by Thomas Eakins

2 / 11 Swimming (1883–85) by Thomas Eakins

Life Painting for a Diploma (1962) by David Hockney

3 / 11 Life Painting for a Diploma (1962) by David Hockney

Memorial for the Homosexual Victims of the Nazi Regime (2008) by Elmgreen and Dragset

4 / 11 Memorial for the Homosexual Victims of the Nazi Regime (2008) by Elmgreen and Dragset

Bulldagger of the Month (1981) by Honey Lee Cottrell

5 / 11 Bulldagger of the Month (1981) by Honey Lee Cottrell

Still Life Studies Series, No. 1 (2008) by Isaac Julien

6 / 11 Still Life Studies Series, No. 1 (2008) by Isaac Julien

The Love Art Laboratory (Blue Wedding to the Sea) (2009) Elizabeth Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle

7 / 11 The Love Art Laboratory (Blue Wedding to the Sea) (2009) Elizabeth Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle

Nude #5, Eleanor Dubinsky and Melanie Maar (2005) by Mary Ellen Strom

8 / 11 Nude #5, Eleanor Dubinsky and Melanie Maar (2005) by Mary Ellen Strom

In the Near Future (detail) (2009) by Sharon Hayes

9 / 11 In the Near Future (detail) (2009) by Sharon Hayes

Mr Slit (2007) by Sheila Pepe

10 / 11 Mr Slit (2007) by Sheila Pepe

Puleng Mahlati, Embekweni, Paarl from the series Faces and Phases, (2009) by Zanele Muholi

11 / 11 Puleng Mahlati, Embekweni, Paarl from the series Faces and Phases, (2009) by Zanele Muholi


“Writing queer culture into art history means redrawing the boundaries of what counts as art, as well as what counts as history,” we explain in our book, Art & Queer Culture. “It means searching for cracks in the partition that separates ‘high’ art from ‘low’ culture and in the divide between public achievement and private life.”

This weekend’s pride parades in New York, London and elsewhere, might serve more as celebrations of those public achievements, yet the acceptance of homosexual equality is by no means fulsome, assured, or international.

As this collection of photography, sculpture, painting and performance art shows, the discovery of innocent personal archives of the likes of Alice Austen’s still led to public shaming and ostracism only a few decades ago, while the pictures by the likes of Zanele Muholi prove far worse punishments are still meted out elsewhere in the world.

And yet, from Thomas Eakins' bucolic paintings, to Lynda Benglis’s defiant bodywork, queer culture creative impetus remains undimmed. 

Gay or straight, surely that’s worth celebrating this weekend. For more on London Pride go here; for New York Pride, its here; and to trace the shifting possibilities and constraints of sexual identity that have provided visual artists with a rich creative resource over the last 125 years, buy a copy of Art and Queer Culture here.


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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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