Reading List: Pride Month 2021

Stack of six books on LGBTQ+ art and history, with spines showing against a gray background

Happy Pride Month! The Frick Art Reference Library is celebrating Pride this June with a recommended reading list of titles that uplift the voices and histories of artists and scholars who identified with or continue to inspire members of the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month began in 1970 during the modern gay rights movement as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, which took place in New York City in 1969, and has evolved ever since to celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals and the impact of the community on local and international history. The selection of titles below includes topics related to artists’ lives and work, gender theory in art, and LGBTQ+ history.

Find further information on these and other works through the library’s online catalog. Thanks to our program with Open Library, the included e-books can be accessed by creating a free Internet Archive account. Reserve your spot to visit the Frick Art Reference Library’s reading room at Frick Madison today.

  1. The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts

    Edited by Claude J. Summers (2004)

    This volume surveys the cultural achievements, contributions, and representations of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in art history. It presents nearly 200 articles on artists, movements, time periods, regions, and specific topics such as AIDS activism and censorship. The encyclopedia places LGBTQ+ artists in their historical contexts and centers the discussion of traditionally marginalized subjects.

  1. Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity

    By Robert Beachy (2014)

    In this work, Robert Beachy discusses the history of Berlin as an urban center that supported and cultivated gay and transgender culture. Turn-of-the-century Berlin saw the publication of the first gay journal, the establishment of the first LGBT rights organization, and the first gender confirmation surgeries. Beachy examines the role of the city in educating and creating dialogues around sexual orientation and gender identity, and the ways in which it continues to do so today.

  1. Gay Pride: Photographs from Stonewall to Today

    By Fred W. McDarrah and Timothy S. McDarrah (1994)

    This e-book is a compilation of photographs taken by former staff photographer of The Village Voice, Fred W. McDarrah. This volume serves as a photo documentary of people, places, and events involved in the Stonewall Uprising that took place outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, from June 28 to July 3, 1969. It includes introductions by writers and activists Allen Ginsberg and Jill Johnston, and a historical essay by Robert Taylor that contextualizes the modern gay rights movement and the impact of Stonewall as its catalyst.

  1. Receptions of Antiquity, Constructions of Gender in European Art, 1300–1600

    Edited by Marice Rose and Alison C. Poe (2015)

    This work considers the ways in which artists, patrons, collectors, and viewers in late medieval and early modern Europe interacted with ancient Greek and Roman visual and written sources to form notions of gender. As inquiries into the intersection of art history and gender theory, essays examine Giotto’s Arena Chapel frescoes, Michelangelo’s Medici Chapel personifications, and other media to understand the complex relationship of visual responses to antiquity and the construction of contemporary gender norms.

  1. Caravaggio: Icona Gay

    By Placido Seminara Battiato di Lampedusa (2015)

    Written in Italian, this book examines the life and work of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) to demonstrate the ways in which his sexual identity was manifested and obscured in his art. Investigating the life of the revered Baroque artist, Placido Seminara Battiato di Lampedusa seeks to create a new approach to art criticism involving continual comparisons with the present.

  1. Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers

    By Robert Giard (1997)

    In Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, American photographer Robert Giard presents an extraordinary visual record of the flowering of queer voices in the wake of the Stonewall Uprising and AIDS crisis. The portraits pay homage to the twentieth-century activists and writers who contributed to gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer cultures and communities across the United States.

  1. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

    Edited by Claire Wilcox and Circe Henestrosa (2018)

    This catalog of an exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2018 explores the personal and artistic life of Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) through an examination of her most private possessions, which her husband Diego Rivera ordered to be locked away until fifteen years after his own death and which remained unopened until 2004. This archive gives readers a unique view into the life of an artist who helped to remove barriers of gender stereotypes, through personal, everyday items within the context of her political and social beliefs.

  1. Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes

    By Lisa L. Moore (2011)

    Lisa L. Moore explores the ways in which women artists used flowers, gardens, and landscapes to express same-sex love in the eighteenth century. Drawing on works by Mary Delany, Anna Seward, and Sarah Pierce, Moore discusses how women adapted the Linnaean system of plant classification to create art that celebrated classical friendship and erotic love. The book also demonstrates how these individuals later influenced works by Emily Dickinson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Tee Corinne.

  1. Images of Ambiente: Homotextuality and Latin American Art, 1810–Today

    By Rudi C. Bleys (2000)

    This work by Rudi C. Bleys discusses the social and cultural diversity of the queer experience through a critical reading of its artistic representations by Latino artists in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba. Bleys approaches the question of if and to what extent different social and cultural contexts provoke divergent and alternative expressions of sexual and gender difference in the arts.

  1. Exist Otherwise: The Life and Works of Claude Cahun

    By Jennifer L. Shaw (2017)

    In the first work in English to tell the full story of French surrealist photographer, sculptor, and writer Claude Cahun (1894–1954), Jennifer L. Shaw recounts the artist’s life, writings, and images throughout the turmoil of the early 1900s. Cahun was ahead of their time in challenging accepted ideas of gender through powerful photographs and writings. Shaw examines letters and diaries to understand the ways in which Cahun’s work sought to subvert the accepted understanding of binary gender and to contribute to the Resistance movement against the Nazi occupation of France.

  1. Gluck: Art and Identity

    Edited by Amy de la Haye and Martin Pel (2017)

    This book presents a major reassessment of the life and work of Gluck (born Hannah Gluckstein, 1895–1976), a singular figure in early modern art in Britain. Through painting, Gluck highlighted notions of sexual identity and is known for an arresting series of self-portraits that confront conventions of masculine and feminine presentation and depiction. The publication reexamines the artist’s personal relationships against the backdrop of contemporary gender and social history.

  1. Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent

    Edited by Thomas H. Wirth (2002)

    Richard Bruce Nugent (1906–1987) was a writer, painter, illustrator, and major personality of the Harlem Renaissance. Nugent was one of the only Black artists in the movement who disclosed his homosexuality in print. In this volume, Thomas H. Wirth, a close friend of Nugent’s during the artist’s last years, presents a selection of Nugent’s unpublished writings, paintings, and drawings, placing the important works in the context of his artistic and literary influences.

All photos by Joseph Coscia Jr., The Frick Collection

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