Art on Market Street Poster Series Highlights and Explore Queer Culture for San Francisco’s 50th Anniversary of Gay Pride
Installed on Market Street, SF | June–August, 2020 | By Win Mixter
Win Mixter Continues the San Francisco Arts Commission’s ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Gay Pride’ themed Art on Market Street Poster Series with work that honors People, Places, and Protests From SF’s Vibrant Queer Past
For its 2020 Art on Market Street Poster Series, the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) invited artists to explore and honor the diverse people, places and events of San Francisco’s rich queer culture. Win Mixter is the second artist in the 2020 series, presenting his project “Pride is a Protest,” a series of 36 unique black-and-white posters on 18 different subjects that aims to re-center the narrative around our annual Pride celebrations away from rainbow capitalism to its original principles of resistance and rebellion.
For Mixter’s posters, he focused most of his research at the GLBT Historical Society Archives located at 989 Market Street. As a long-time volunteer with the historical society, it was an opportunity to dive deeper into their collections and share some lesser-known stories from a wide array of gender expressions and queer subcultures, from pre-Stonewall era to modern day. The posters gather imagery and iconography found in the archives to create memorials to people, places, and protests from San Francisco’s vibrant queer community.
“Over the decades Pride in San Francisco, as around the world, has evolved into something vastly different than the original organizers envisioned,” said Mixter. “By centering on stories of resistance and radical self-expression, the project tries to recapture some of the brave and defiant ways in which queers have liberated themselves and demanded their own freedoms over the last 50+ years.”
With the pandemic-related cancellation of most in-person Pride celebrations for 2020, the project takes on another life as a viable socially-distant “city as museum” installation; each poster is consciously located to evoke some of the living history that is all around us. The full series of posters can be experienced as a walking tour down Market Street. For example, a poster commemorating José Sarria is located at the beginning of Market Street near the Embarcadero, in a kiosk adjacent to 90 Market, the location of his short-lived bar “The Talk of the Town.” A poster commemorating the 1990 ACT UP Protests that shut down Market Street at Stockton/ Ellis is located at the kiosk at the intersection of Market & Stockton.
For a full list of the subjects drawn by the artist and a map of all of the installed posters, check out the project website, PrideisaProtest.com. Each page is an aggregation of images, videos & sound bytes (where available), and a written reflection on each subject. The project is also on Instagram @PrideIsAProtest.
Mixter will present his research and host a series of personal reflections by local queer leaders at a virtual event hosted by the GLBT Historical Society on Thursday, June 18 from 6–8PM.
The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries and Street Artist Licensing. To learn more visit, sfartscommission.org