THE RAINBOW FLAG, GILBERT BAKER
A person’s associations serve as important identifiers for growth and empowerment. By definition, socially marginalized communities have experienced exclusion and discrimination, often over multiple generations. Marginalized communities are on the edge of society. Therefore, artists identify with and represent all of these communities. Activist art is created to challenge values, ethics, social mores and speak to what the artist(s) considers unjust political and social realities.
Flags are often associated with cultural symbolism and are therefore the perfect piece of artifact and activism. Flags are created for the street, not for a gallery, and the images on flags can identify, or group individuals together. Flying a flag on a house or car is about more than cloth, it is taking action. The rainbow flag that represents the LGBTQIA asdefined by the American Psychological association as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual community, social movement was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. Baker who created the first iconic rainbow flag after becoming friends with Harvey Milk discussed “how action could create change.” Milk challenged Baker to create a symbol of pride for the gay community because at the time, the community was using the pink triangle that was imposed on homosexuals by the Nazis to identify and persecute them. In 2004, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) acquired the original hand dyed rainbow flag made by Gilbert Baker for their permanent collection. The MOMA’s curator stated that the flag was important to the archives as a design milestone as well as an iconic piece of activist art.
References and Resources for further investigation:
Antonelli, P. (2015). MOMA acquires the rainbow flag [Press release]. Retrieved from https://moma.org/inside_out/moma-acquires-the-rainbow-flag
Barrios, B. (2004). Of flags: Online queer identities, writing classrooms, and action horizons. Computers and Composition, 21(3), 341-361.
Cummins, J. (2015). Intercultural education and academic achievement: a framework for school-based policies in multilingual schools, Intercultural Education, 26:6, 455-468, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2015.1103539
Gallois, M. (2016). The aboriginal flag as art. Austrian Aboriginal Studies, 2(1), 46-60.
Ortega, A. (2014) Looking into the eye of the process intercultural art activism trans*/lations and intersex/tions in the global south. Agenda, 28(4), 86-93.
Julia M Simmons
10/25/2020 06:20:37 pm
I knew a different Gilbert Baker early on and I have a photograph of him myself and our local hippie dealer in San Francisco around 19 73 and I knew a different guy then all these hundreds of pages I see about him now. I know a very talented artist and clothing designer and interior decorator who is the complete total Thief. To decorate some of his jobs that he stole everything he could out of graveyards mausoleums and hotel hallways and hotel rooms and anywhere else he could grab something. And when house he was fixing up on Panhandle Oak Street in San Francisco and I was living with him paying my rent to him and he was not giving it to the landlord and she called one day to him and he suddenly ran out and left me there alone and she had called to tell him if he didn't get out of there she was coming to beat him up and so I was the one that got beat up since I was the only one there and they literally threw me down one of those huge stairways they have in San Francisco old victorians. I had been giving him the rent but he had not been paying it to them. Of course along the way I saw his incredible creativity as well as his obsession with David Bowie and I could tell a hundred stories about what things we did and he I met him actually on Baker Street when I lived at the top of the hill above Haight-Ashbury and he was the one who threw himself at me he thought I look like a Top Model and he used me to seduce men because he would suggest threesomes with two men of me is one woman and I even ended up in Occidental at 2 Wheeler's Ranch a place he sent me two after I overdosed on LSD. I didn't left and went to Iran and then when I came back ran into him again and I had a 22 karat gold rare necklace that a Greek billionaire had given me and at that party he had on McAllister Street for the death of hippiedom he was dancing at a white dress with a gold belt and so I put it around his neck and said here Gilbert dance with this and he refused to give it back to me and so I snuck into his room the next day and he was in bed in the necklace was laying on its shell and I snuck over to get it and he woke right up and ran over and almost beat me up and grabbed it away from me. This was not an ordinary gold necklace it was by an incredibly rare famous designer in Iran and so I'd like to say that it was worth about $30,000 and I guess he use that to make the gay flag so maybe someone could thank me for something
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This blog chronicles my research in activist art and my life as a woman in academia.