PHAG 5 - Gay visibility in Art

Art in cover by Ori Hafner

As an art lover, a curator and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I've been interested in the ways that gay artists have expressed themselves throughout history. From ancient Greece, through the Renaissance in Italy, to modern-day New York, LGBTQ+ artists have often been at the forefront of cultural movements and artistic innovation. But for many years, the LGBTQ+ community was marginalized in mainstream art, with gay visibility often suppressed or outright censored. Some of the best artists in the world suddenly were brought back into the closet when entered into the art museums or art galleries. 

Boy with a Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio depicts a beautiful young man, Rome, 1592-93. Wikimedia Commons

Today, however, we're seeing a sea change in the art world, with more and more LGBTQ+ artists gaining visibility and recognition. Gay artists play a role in expanding our cultural horizons. Without them we, as a society, would not know what is considered normal.

Dennis Hanshew - Love and Affection

One of the most significant ways that gay visibility in art has increased in recent years is through the rise of queer art galleries and exhibitions. These spaces create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ artists to showcase their work and for LGBTQ+ audiences to engage with it. Many of these galleries also host community events and educational programs, providing a valuable platform for queer culture and expression.


In addition to queer art spaces, there has been a growing trend of LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream art institutions. Major museums and galleries around the world are now showcasing works by gay artists and featuring exhibits that explore queer themes and experiences. This increased visibility not only provides a wider audience for queer artists but also helps to normalize LGBTQ+ identities and experiences in the wider cultural landscape.

Leslie Lohman Museum of Art New York

Another exciting development in gay visibility in art is the growing number of LGBTQ+ collectors and patrons. With more and more members of the community investing in art, we're seeing an increased demand for works by LGBTQ+ artists, which in turn is driving more attention and recognition for their work.

By supporting gay artists, you're supporting the creation of diverse and exciting cultural work that challenges traditional norms and expands our collective understanding of the world around us. Additionally, investing in queer art can be a way to support the LGBTQ+ community more broadly, as many artists use their work as a platform for activism and advocacy. Supporting gay and queer art expands and assists gay culture.

So, as you explore art for your new home, or as a gift, I encourage you to seek out works by LGBTQ+ artists, and to support queer art spaces and exhibitions. By doing so, you're not only enriching your own life with a wide perspective, but also contributing to the larger cultural conversation around LGBTQ+ identity and visibility.

April 30, 2023 — Erez Bialer
Tags: Gay Art

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.