Happy Pride! Read up on these history-changing LGBTQI+ artists


Arranging the Rainbow by Lisa Congdon | $10 from each print sold will be donated to Brave Trails, an innovative summer camp for LGBTQ youth that Lisa’s been working with for a while now.

To kick off Pride Month, we’ve put together a short list of 10 history-making LGBTQI+ artists you might not know about. Queering art history and working overlooked artists and creations back into the conversation requires out-of-the-box thinking and ongoing effort, but one place to start for art lovers the world over is to familiarize themselves with some perhaps lesser known figures. This is by no means an exhaustive list—just a jumping off point. Read more on the blog, and take this educational energy with you into the rest of Pride. Parties are important, but recognizing the past is essential—every month outta the year.

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200

 
Alvin Baltrop
(1948-2004)
For the most part, the mainstream art scene ignored Baltrop’s photographs while he was alive. With his lens turned to the warehouses near Manhattan’s West Side piers and an eye for architectural drama, Baltrop documented underground gay culture along the Hudson River—sunbathing, cruising, sex, and crime—capturing not only a pivotal moment in the LGBTQI+ community, but the profound humanity of his subjects.
Félix González-Torres
(1957-1996) 
Cuban-born American artist González-Torres was known for his restrained, minimal installations and sculptures integrating unconventional materials like clocks, hard candies, and lightbulbs. His work has sometimes been described as a reflection of his personal experience with AIDS. He was also a member of Group Material, an assembly of artists working collaboratively and committed to cultural activism and community education.
Hannah Höch
(1889-1978) 
A German Dada artist, Höch was known for her political collages and for pioneering photomontage—collage work that includes cut or torn and pasted photographs or photographic reproductions. She was one of the only female members in the Berlin Dada group, and often explored gender, androgyny, and identity through her experimental, avant-garde art.
Rotimi Fani-Kayode
(1955-1989)
Working during the height of the AIDS crisis, Nigerian-born photographer Fani-Kayode produced stunning, stylized portraits elevating and dignifying queer Black desire. His work often addressed the politics of race and representation and unpacked ideas of cultural identity and otherness, including the tension between his homosexuality and Yoruba upbringing.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
(1950-2020)
A performance artist, visual artist, musician and poet, Breyer P-Orridge founded the artistic collective COUM Transmissions. COUM’s performance art took a confrontational approach to conventionally taboo subjects like sex work, pornography, serial killers, and the occult, questioning societal norms in the process. In 1995, Breyer P-Orridge and h/er partner Lady Jaye launched the Pandrogeny Project, identifying as a single pandrogynous entity in part to explore the idea of eliminating gender entirely.
Violet Oakley
(1874-1961)
The first woman to receive a public mural commission, Oakley was a gifted painter, illustrator, and stained glass artist, primarily working in Rennaissance-revival styles. Anyone who’s toured Philadelphia’s historic sites is likely to have come across a number of Oakley's pieces. She was commissioned to do a series of murals for the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, and her work also appears at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the First Presbyterian Church, and the Charlton Yarnell House.
Mark Aguhar
(1987-2012)
A Transfeminine Filipinx multidisciplinary artist, Aguhar was known as the “Call Out Queen,” wielding her visual art, videos and tumblr posts to attack the gender binary, racism, misogyny, and fatphobia. Emphasizing art practice as an exercise in self care, Aguhar created work that celebrated her multifaceted identity and demanded more of feminism and femininity—that they transcend the straight, white, and cis to experience the transformative beauty of true diversity.
Beauford Delaney
(1901-1979)
A respected figure in the Harlem Renaissance and accomplished abstract expressionist, Delaney gained recognition for his portraits of prominent Black Americans like W.E.B. Dubois and Duke Ellington. Moving fluidly between the abstract and the representational, his work focused on New York’s urban scene, capturing Great Depression-era poverty and disenfranchisement as much as he immortalized the vitality and enigmatic energy of his subjects.
Lili Elbe
(1882-1931)
Elbe was a Danish painter and among the earliest recipients of sex reassignment surgery, which was highly experimental at the time. A student of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, she worked in illustration, particularly landscape paintings. The movie The Danish Girl is a fictionalized account of Elbe’s life.
Bhupen Khakhar
(1934-2003)
While he’s best known for his paintings, self-taught Indian artist Khakhar also worked with ceramics, glass-painting, and installations. After attending the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda, Khakhar soon became a key figure in the Baroda School—an influential group of figurative painters from a variety of backgrounds. His vibrant artworks frequently contained personal narratives and flashes of fantasy, alluding to the cultural implications of same-sex love in rigid Indian society.

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