Art and the LGBTQIA+ Community
Over the centuries, art has been a vehicle for communicating experiences, stories, in addition to being a form of expression of identity, a person or a culture. In Ancient Greece, unlike other cultures, male sexual attraction was normal and natural. These homoerotic relationships were present in art, whether in poetry or in the plastic arts (pots with sexual acts were often painted). Currently, the LGBTQIA+ community is gradually gaining greater visibility and being more accepted. From the 20th century to the present, several artists have used art as a means of expression to bring about a change in social perception on various themes, such as gender, sexual orientation, identity and the body. Discover in this article, seven artists who conceived, through their identity and artistic production, an increase in the visibility and liberation of the LGBTQIA+ community.
1. Claude Cahun
Claude Cahun was a surrealist photographer whose work explored gender identity and the subconscious. He was born in 1894 in Nantes, as Lucy Schwob, but during his lifetime he adopted the name Claude Cahun. He was one of the first artists to fully embrace gender fluidity, long before the term came into use. In his self-portraits, the idea of his attitude and identity is conceived, due to his clothes that do not seem conventionally masculine or feminine, in addition to his challenging and frontal look at the camera. His inspiring work has left a big mark on photography and has influenced many contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing and Nan Goldin. Currently, his works are present in multiple collections of museum institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.
Self-portrait by Claude Cahun
2. Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was a multidisciplinary artist, known for his artistic production in the American Pop Art movement, in addition to his work as a filmmaker and graphic designer. His works, from Campbell's soup cans, to prints by celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Elizabeth Taylor, are a critique of materialism, capitalism and the glamor of the 1960s and 1970s. culture underground gay , having frequently produced erotic photographs with male nudes. Andy Warhol he remains to this day an iconic figure in art history and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Portrait of Andy Warhol in Drag
3. Keith Haring
Keith Haring was one of the main artists of the Pop Art movement, producing images that communicate easily with the general public. After being diagnosed with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) in 1988, the artist began intensely to promote the understanding of this disease through his artistic production. He also founded the Keith Haring Foundation as a way to educate, predict and raise awareness about AIDS. His career had been brief due to the illness, however quite intense, and today he continues to mark history, with his colorful, provocative and socially conscious images.
Ignorance = Fear / Silence = Death by Keith Haring , 1989
4. Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer known for his black and white portraits, which express the classic aspects of beauty, from nudes, still lifes or self-portraits. In 1990, there was The Perfect Moment , his first exhibition to be criticized for pornography and obscenity. Although Robert Mapplethorpe disagreed with claims about his photographs being provocative and shocking, his work was criticized, creating a national debate over whether the US government should fund the arts at all. Robert Mapplethorpe's legacy continues to shake the world today, constantly challenging traditional notions and reaffirming the right to freedom of expression.
Robert Mapplethorpe's Self-Portrait
5. Annie Leibovitz
Over the past forty years, photographer Annie Leibovitz has produced intimate portraits of such figures as Demi Moore, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, among others. Her photos reveal a personal side to celebrities' lives, often demonstrating and expressing their vulnerability and sexuality through the artistic nude. One of his most personal and moving works is the portrait of his partner, Susan Sontag. Produced over a period of fifteen years, the portraits vary, thus telling the story of their life together. Both commercial and personal, Annie Leibovitz raises public awareness and gives voice to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Self portrait by Annie Leibovitz
6. Mario Cesariny
The Estado Novo said that there were no homosexuals, but persecuted them. This was the case of Mário Cesariny , one of the most important members of Portuguese surrealism and an unavoidable figure of the 20th century. The artist was repeatedly arrested in search of urinals and subjected to humiliation by the police. However, in his artistic production, Mário Cesariny was able to express intensely your dreams and desires. Through his surrealist works, a freedom for homosexuality was conceived in him, which ended up influencing the work of subsequent generations.
Portrait of Mario Cesariny
7. Zackary Drucker
Zackary Drucker is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans photography, performance, film and installation. Her artistic practice focuses mainly on themes such as body, sexuality and gender, as well as the hidden aspects of the history of what it means to be transgender, through facts and her own sexual identity. Zackary Drucker and her partner Rhys Ernst together documented their gender transition through an amazing photo series called Relationship . This project offers a fundamental and very intimate insight into such an important process.
Zackary Drucker's Relationship