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Queer California: Untold Stories: Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, California: April 13–August 11, 2019

Queer California: Untold Stories: Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, California: April 13–August 11,... In 1978 in San Francisco, Gilbert Baker designed the prototype for what would decades later become a ubiquitous symbol for gay pride: the rainbow flag. The original design featured eight colors, each respectively symbolizing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic/art, serenity, and spirit. Queer California: Untold Stories installed a prototype of this flag as one of the first works visitors encountered in the exhibition. As the wall text explained, “In 1979, Baker sought to mass produce the design and found that flag makers did not carry pink as a standard color. He let pink go for a chance at commercial success. He also abandoned turquoise to retain the flag’s symmetry.” Curator Christina Linden presented the flag as a cautionary tale as much as a cause for celebration, installing it in a section titled “What Gets Left Out” and proximate to wall text defining the process of assimilation. Numerous pride flags have been developed to represent different identities and subcultures—from bisexual and nonbinary to bears and leather—whereas composite flags have sought to expand the visible spectrum of queerness, such as the Progress Pride Flag, which presents black and brown stripes representing queers of color and the white and pastel pink and blue stripes of the trans flag as intersecting with the standard rainbow flag.1 In this exhibition, the curator juxtaposed Gilbert’s original vision with artist Amanda Curreri’s Misfits 1979 (Sex and Art) , a 2013 flag composed of hot pink and turquoise panels that reclaim sex and art (apparently minus the magic) as core to queer culture and expression. Both logics—of inclusion for previously underrepresented queer experiences and of reclaiming sex and art—effectively describe the exhibition’s agenda of presenting “untold stories.” Importantly, Linden’s show also refused a binary between art and historical documentation [Image 1].2 IMAGE 1. Misfits 1979 (Sex and … http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism University of California Press

Queer California: Untold Stories: Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, California: April 13–August 11, 2019

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
© 2019 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Reprints and Permissions web page, https://www.ucpress.edu/journals/reprints-permissions.
eISSN
2578-8531
DOI
10.1525/aft.2019.463006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In 1978 in San Francisco, Gilbert Baker designed the prototype for what would decades later become a ubiquitous symbol for gay pride: the rainbow flag. The original design featured eight colors, each respectively symbolizing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic/art, serenity, and spirit. Queer California: Untold Stories installed a prototype of this flag as one of the first works visitors encountered in the exhibition. As the wall text explained, “In 1979, Baker sought to mass produce the design and found that flag makers did not carry pink as a standard color. He let pink go for a chance at commercial success. He also abandoned turquoise to retain the flag’s symmetry.” Curator Christina Linden presented the flag as a cautionary tale as much as a cause for celebration, installing it in a section titled “What Gets Left Out” and proximate to wall text defining the process of assimilation. Numerous pride flags have been developed to represent different identities and subcultures—from bisexual and nonbinary to bears and leather—whereas composite flags have sought to expand the visible spectrum of queerness, such as the Progress Pride Flag, which presents black and brown stripes representing queers of color and the white and pastel pink and blue stripes of the trans flag as intersecting with the standard rainbow flag.1 In this exhibition, the curator juxtaposed Gilbert’s original vision with artist Amanda Curreri’s Misfits 1979 (Sex and Art) , a 2013 flag composed of hot pink and turquoise panels that reclaim sex and art (apparently minus the magic) as core to queer culture and expression. Both logics—of inclusion for previously underrepresented queer experiences and of reclaiming sex and art—effectively describe the exhibition’s agenda of presenting “untold stories.” Importantly, Linden’s show also refused a binary between art and historical documentation [Image 1].2 IMAGE 1. Misfits 1979 (Sex and …

Journal

Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural CriticismUniversity of California Press

Published: Sep 3, 2019

References