Queer Icons: Pioneers

Jun 15—30, 2020

ArtYard is pleased to present Queer Icons: Pioneers, an exhibition featuring the works of artist, performer, and activist Silky Shoemaker.

ArtYard first commissioned Shoemaker to construct ten life-size plywood portraits of monumental figures from the LGBTQ community in the spring of 2019. This year, we are excited to present the second iteration of this project, featuring ten new icons from the LGBTQ community who were pioneers in their respective fields – civil rights activists, drag performers, dancers, arbiters of rock and roll, baseball players, floral designers, writers, film directors, and producers. This year’s queer icons are Pauli Murray, Lou Sullivan, Flawless Sabrina, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Constance Spry, Dorothy Arzner, Glenn Burke, Ellis Haizlip, Willi Ninja and Jeanne Cordóva.

Because ArtYard’s galleries and theatre remain closed to the public in light of Covid-19, we have had to forego installing the figures inside our gallery as originally planned. Instead, we have partnered with local businesses throughout Frenchtown to display this year’s icons in their storefront windows or in front of their entrances so that the icons can be seen and admired at a safe distance. Last year’s icons are also on display which includes Gladys Bentley, Langston Hughes, Essex Hemphill, Agnes Martin, Dorian Corey, Leslie Feinberg, Barbara Jordan, Bayard Rustin, Esquerita and Pat Parker. The figures will be on view June 15th through June 30th.

Queer Icons: Pioneers is presented in conjunction with the Frenchtown Business and Professional Association (FBPA)’s fourth annual PRIDE celebration. While the parade has been canceled, we hope that the presentation of this year’s Queer Icons will serve as a means of continued celebration.