|Earth Herself (Two Nudes in the Jungle)by Frida Kahlo|
The three artists that I have long known to be part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual) community are Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Keith Haring, the last two of which have directly depicted homoerotic images in there work and have been important artists. Though my preference being for Keith Haring stylistically and as much of his work is based around social movements, specifically the AIDS epidemic that struck the gay community of the 80's and became the last time that an LGB related social movement had so much art surrounding it.
|Ignorance = Fear / Silence = Death, by Keith Haring|
To go along with Haring and all the art he had done, I came across David Wojnarowicz, which was another big gay artist of the 80's which also did gay related art and AIDS related art. Wojnarowicz came up in an article in Slate Magazine, in which it talks about the Museum of Modern art Closeting the relationship between Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns during an exhibition including the two artists works, as well as the removal of Wojnarowicz's video piece "Fire in My Belly" from the National Portrait Gallery during the Galleries "Hide/Seek" exhibition that focused on sexuality and identity. Before going back and dissecting the rest of that information I went and found some of Wojnarowicz's works including another video entitled "Beautiful People" and a series of video clips on youtube just titled with the Artist's name, "David Worjnarowicz: part1, part2, part3, part4," I found these three videos to be extremely strong, perhaps some of the strongest AIDS crisis related art and LGBT I have seen to date, and it made me realize that although an artist's sexuality may or may not be important to their artistic practice or even their life, it goes back to the issue of should one's sexuality matter?
In the culture the way it is now, of course sexuality matters, if it didn't we wouldn't be having conversation around should marriage between two people of the same sex or gender be allowed? Since this is allowed to sneak into culture, a relevant counterbalance should be struck, and the artists whom have had their sexuality "swept into the closet" or who have themselves been swept away, should be undone so young people... so young artists can see that LGBT artists have existed and can be relevant even if their art is not explicitly related to LGBT, and it gives a way to see how subtle sexuality can sneak into art, such as "In Memory of My Feelings - Frank O'Hara, by Japer John, and Canto XIV by Robert Rouschenberg, which both are images done during the end of their six year relationship with one another and this video from the "Hide and Seek" exhibit explains in detail the theory of what is depicted in each of these images represents. Whether it was because these artists existed during a period when they could not directly convey their feelings on canvas or this is just contextual with their style, it is still relevant to the art itself.
I feel as though history has let out a lot of these little details about this art that makes it so much more to young artists like myself. I hope to continue to look into modern art history and see what other art pertains to such movements, and hope that my lack of finding art on contemporary LGBT issues, particularly gay marriage, adoption, bullying, and trans* identity is only temporary. Personally I feel as though movement driven or not, learning more about these artist's will help me in my future endeavors as an artists