Iconic LGBTQ+ Artists and Where to See Their Works
Nov. 26 2022
by Lachlan

Iconic LGBTQ+ Artists and Where to See Their Works

While summer might be all about gay beaches, cocktails, and new adventures soaking up the sun, fall is a great chance to venture indoors and soak up a different side of LGBTQ+ life. With the cooler weather setting in, the students back to school, and us back at the office, why not take the change of season and pace as an opportunity to delve into some LGBTQ+ culture? 

Culture can also be a great excuse to travel - we’re looking at all the enriching LGBTQ+ art expos across the globe! So to inspire your cultural return to reality, we’ve rounded up the globe’s most beloved LGBTQ+ artists, and where you can see their famed works all year long. Some even have dedicated exhibitions to enjoy right now! From gay artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat to LGBTQ+ icons like Rosa Bonheur and Frida Kahlo, brush up on some LGBTQ+ art culture with our world tour now. 


Andy Warhol

Campbell's soup cans, bold colours, and Marilyn Monroe’s face repeated many times, Andy Warhol’s art is as iconic as the artist himself. A leading figure in pop art through the 20th century, Warhol’s works are considered a mix of traditional artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture. Residing in New York, his studio The Factory was a haven for intellectuals, drag queens, and playwrights, which is fitting as the artist was openly gay - even before the gay liberation movement in 1969. 

With a gay artist as recognized and as loved as Warhol, it comes as no surprise that you’ll be able to see his works in many galleries across the globe. The most extensive exhibition, however, is at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh USA. Spanning over 7 floors, the museum is a genuflection to the gay artist’s works, his life, and legacy. We’ll see you there!  



Can’t make it to Pittsburgh? You can also catch Warhol exhibits at Tate Modern, London, which houses the iconic Marilyn Diptych from 1962. 


Rosa Bonheur

In French, bonheur means happiness, which is fitting for Rosa Bonheur, as her profound works have generated such emotions in the art realm since her beginnings in the 19th century. To this day, Rosa Bonheur is considered the most famous female painter of the 19th century, with her unique works generally representing animals in exceptional realist form. Openly a lesbian, Bonheur lived with her first partner, Nathalie Micas for 40 years, until Micas’ death. 

©Rosa Bonheur dans son atelier - Musée d'Orsay

At the time, lesbianism was not accepted in France, nor the world really, so Bonheur’s open attitude was considered groundbreaking for the time. Today, her legacy burns bright for the LGBTQ+ community, and you can catch her permanent works at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago. The iconic Musée d’Orsay will also be hosting a dedicated Rosa Bonheur Exhibition from October 18, 2022 to January 15, 2023, so how about a trip to Paris



Frida Kahlo

A little like denim, Frida Kahlo never goes out of style. The famed LGBTQ+ Mexican artist is revered for her unique and unmistakable paintings and self-portraits which document Mexican and Indigenous culture. Kahlo depicts her emotional and physical pain across roughly 200 works, which pair bright vivid colors with a Renaissance style, creating something truly distinctive. Kahlo had a tumultuous love life, and partook in affairs with both men and women, while being married to her husband. Her celebrated painting, Two Nudes in a Forest, clearly portrays Kahlo’s love and attraction towards women, and was a milestone in terms of LGBTQ+ representation through art. 

Kahlo’s works are adored across the world, with many different galleries proudly showcasing them in their permanent collections. You’ll find works at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. For a more intimate glimpse at Kahlo’s life, and later works in particular, visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, which is located in La Casa Azul - Kahlo's childhood home.



Keith Haring

Born in Pennsylvania, the late gay artist Keith Haring shook the art world with his unique drawings, installations, murals, videos, and collages during the 80s in NYC. His works were widely regarded as pop art, which emerged from New York's graffiti subculture. The majority are a nod to social activism, with images that advocate safe sex and AIDS awareness. After gaining public recognition from his chalk outlines across New York's subway, he was commissioned for a series of large-scale murals for schools, hospitals, day centers, and orphanages. In 2019, Herring was inducted on the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor in New York's Stonewall Inn, for being regarded as one of America's 50 first "pioneers, trailblazers, and heroes." 

Captivated by Keith Haring just like we are? You can see his large-scale murals and sculptures in multiple locations across the globe, including Crack is Wack in East Harlem NYC, We The Youth in Philadelphia, The Boxers in Berlin, The Sea Monster in Amsterdam, and Necker in Paris just to name a few. The Nakamura Keith Haring Collection “15th Anniversary Exhibition: Chaos and Hope” is also currently being held in Hokuto, Japan, and will be running through to May 7, 2023 should you wish to venture to Japan. 



Jean-Michel Basquiat

The late LGBTQ+ artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, may have only lived a short life, but his art legacy continues to shine brighter than ever. Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat rose to fame in the 1980s with his unique and compelling art, which was a mix of graffiti, painting, and drawing. Forming part of the neo-expressionism movement of the time, Basquiat used his art as a vehicle for social commentary, often documenting some of life's most significant dichotomies including wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner and outer experiences. While born in Brooklyn, Basquiat was of Haiitian origins, and his art often depicted his experiences being part of the black community, as well as his struggles with power classes and racism. 

©Ivane Katamashvili 

Basquiat tragically died at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose, yet his art lives on today. You can find his works in various galleries, including MACBA in Barcelona, Soho Contemporary Art in NYC, MOCA in LA, and Foundation Beyeler in Basel. If you happen to be in NYC right now, we also recommend heading to the current exhibition “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure'' which is running through to October 31 at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea and features over 200 works and artifacts from the estate's collection. 



Georgia O'Keeffe

Often referred to as the Mother of American modernism, LGBTQ+ artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, certainly left her mark on art during the 20th century. Her paintings covered varying themes including New York skyscrapers and New Mexico landscapes. Yet it was arguably her enlarged flower series which garnered the most attention. Many academics believe the enlarged flower series depict female sexuality, with the flowers alternatively representing the vulva. In the 1920s, O’Keeffe had already become a bonafide legend and female role model, thanks to her independent spirit and audaciously unique works. 

©Flickr/Lori Bravo

Find out for yourself by discovering the late legend’s works up close and personal. You can catch them at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. If you want to get a greater glimpse at the life, legacy and works of O’Keeffe, then a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe (the city where O’Keefe spent her last years) is a must.



David Hockney

English painter, printmaker, and photographer, David Hockney, was a significant contributor to the pop art movement during the 1960s. With his prolific body of work which blends bold colors, unique aesthetics, and impactful themes, it’s little wonder Hockney is today regarded as one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Openly gay from the age of 23, Hockney often used his art as a vehicle of sexual expression. This can be particularly seen in the works: We Two Boys Together Clinging and Domestic Scene, Los Angeles which both depict gay love. 

©David Hockney A Year in Normandie - 2020-2021: Composite iPad painting ©David Hockney 

Many of Hockney’s works are displayed in galleries across the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, and a dedicated exhibition which is currently running at the Bayeux Museum in Bayeux, Normandy, until April 23, 2023. The exhibition will showcase an impressive body of work which was originally presented at the Musée de l'Orangerie gallery in Paris last year, in the form of a 90-meter long fresco depicting spring in Normandy's countryside. The largest permanent collections, however, can be found in London at the Hayward Gallery and The British Museum. We’ll see you in the British capital! 



Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon is lauded as one of the best painters of the 20th century, and after seeing his iconic works, we couldn’t agree more. The Irish-born painter had turbulent beginnings, with his family evicting him from the home at the age of 17 due to being gay. Bacon then traveled to Berlin and later Paris, where he was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s 1927 exhibition. Some of Bacon’s most iconic works include Crucifixion, Painting, the Head series, and the Screaming Popes series, which aim to depict the alienation and suffering experienced by mankind during the second half of the 20th century.

Tate Britain 

Many galleries across the globe house works from the famed LGBTQ+ artist including the Museum of Modern Art and the Met in NYC, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC. If you on the other side of the Atlantic, however, Tate Britain also currently houses some of Bacon’s works. But hurry! Word has it that the gallery may be donating the collection to the Pompidou in Paris, so if you miss out, you’ll have to hop the Channel.  



Tamara de Lempicka

The late LGBTQ+ artist, Tamara de Lempicka, was a Polish painter best known for her glamorous Art Deco portraits and nudes. Focusing almost exclusively on portraits, her works were considered clean, crisp, luminous and lifelike, and her subjects were regularly aristocrats and highly stylized nudes - often female. Openly bisexual, de Lempicka conveyed themes of male and female desire and seduction in her nude studies in particular.Pompidou Museum

Today, the works of Tamara de Lempicka are held in various galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, and the Museum of Beaux Arts in Nantes, France. If you are looking to combine a trip to Paris and enjoy some of de Lempicka’s works, you’ll be pleased to know the iconic Pompidou Museum in the center of Paris houses a generous collection of the artist’s works. 



So whether it’s an exciting adventure to NYC to visit an iconic LGBTQ+ artist at the Museum of Modern Art, or maybe a unique experience down in Mexico to learn a little more about the influential Frida Kahlo, celebrate the new season with a cultural venture and plan your next trip with misterb&b today. Loved this? Check out our round-up of top gay monuments across the globe to keep the cultural flame alive this season.  

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