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Gay icons pick icons for exhibit of “gay icons” | Hunter of Justice

Gay icons pick icons for exhibit of “gay icons”

by on March 29, 2009  •  In Culture

The National Portrait Gallery in London asked a panel of 10 prominent gay people, including Elton John, Ian McKellen, Sarah Waters and Billie Jean King, to name their icons (gay or straight) for an exhibit on "Gay Icons." The result, opening in July, will include Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Harvey Milk, mathematician Alan Turing, sculptor Rosa Bonheur, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, tennis star Althea Gibson and more (the full list has not been released yet).

The Guardian's Barbara Ellen calls the list "a gently lapping sea of academia-pleasing, well-behaved, hushed library tone, don't scare the horses gay goodliness. There's a cursory sprinkling of Joe Ortons and Quentin Crisps to keep the people in the cheap seats happy, presumably so that the thicker, less moneyed/metropolitan homosexual can cry: 'Phew, I've heard of that one.'" But, she notes, no screamers.

I concur; this list has a low glam count.

Check out this interview with the deputy director of the Portrait Gallery who provides a very British explanation.  I wonder if she checked Wikipedia, which actually has a "gay icons" entry replete with names. Imelda Marcos, anyone?

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One Response to Gay icons pick icons for exhibit of “gay icons”

  1. Gay Prof March 29, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    Funny: “The Guardian’s Barbara Ellen calls the list “a gently lapping sea of academia-pleasing, well-behaved, hushed library tone, don’t scare the horses gay goodliness. There’s a cursory sprinkling of Joe Ortons and Quentin Crisps to keep the people in the cheap seats happy, presumably so that the thicker, less moneyed/metropolitan homosexual can cry: ‘Phew, I’ve heard of that one.’” But, she notes, no screamers. The list has a low glam count.”

    Well, as someone who shocks academia (intentionally or otherwise), I would include (showing my age, among other things): Janet Jackson, Madonna, Serena Williams, Will and Grace, Boy George, Liberace, Elizabeth Montgomery, Ellen, Oprah, and Hillary Clinton.

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