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Performance, Protest & Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker

  • GLBT Historical Society Museum 4127 18th Street San Francisco, CA, 94114 United States (map)


GLBT Historical Society Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114


$5.00 | Free for members

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A new exhibition at the GLBT Historical Society Museum uses textiles, costumes, photographs and ephemera to paint a complex portrait of San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), who designed the iconic rainbow flag as a symbol of the LGBTQ community. First displayed at the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the flag has transcended its humble, hand-sewn origins to become an internationally recognized symbol. Yet the success of this design has in some ways overshadowed the larger story of its creator and his exceptional creative work.

Curated by Joanna Black and Jeremy Prince, this exhibition examines how Baker blurred the lines between artist and activist, protester and performer, emphasizing his intuitive understanding of the ways art can serve as a powerful means to address political and social issues. By exploring the less well-known dimensions of Baker’s wide-ranging oeuvre, it places the rainbow flag back into the unexpected and evocative context of his exceptional life as an activist and artist. Light refreshments will be served.

Image credit: Gilbert Baker as Pink Jesus in the 1990 International Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade, 1990; photograph by Robert Pruzan, collection of the GLBT Historical Society.