‘What Remains’ at Schlomer Haus Gallery takes the discarded bits from this year’s pride and makes them into jaw-dopping art.
We’re more than a month removed from San Francisco Pride 2023 and Pride Month. It was a time rife with the collective celebration of queerness, self-exploration, and communion; it’s a month steeped in history as much as it is a beaconing call for a more inclusive future.
San Francisco’s Pride Parade is among the largest anywhere in the world. (In fact: SF Pride is the city’s largest outdoor event held annually and exits as a major, multi-million-dollar boom in San Francisco’s local economy.) But as with any parade — kinetic celebrations that, quite literally, leave a trail of synthetic detritus long after they’ve ended — abandoned garments, pieces of trash, and no longer needed signage were left in the aftermath of SF Pride’s annual parade this year.
Putting a creative spin on the remnants is a collaboration between the Schlomer Haus Gallery and independent agency Venables Bell + Partners, which has debuted What Remains, a display that features new works from artists local to San Francisco, each using the leftover bits from SF Pride Parade 2023 to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Moreover: What Remains also puts attention on queer mental health, as well as supporting the LGBTQIA+ community year-round… instead of when it’s just financially lucrative and fitting on a calendar.
“What Remains is an art and activism exhibition intended to address this disparity by getting Americans rethinking and renewing their support for LGBTQIA+ mental health beyond Pride,” reads a press release around the exhibit, which will run from August 4th to August 26th. “The exhibit includes local artists within the community who are literally transforming the discarded remnants of the 2023 SF Pride Parade into something permanent and beautiful.”
For example, celebrated and multi-hyphen artist Jun Yang, whose work spans the gamut of both media and subjectivity, was inspired to create a portrait of Harvey Milk; Yang has long been captivated by Milk’s symbol as a source of “hope, strength, and compassion” for impact on our society.
“My goal with this artwork is to honor his incredible legacy and inspire future generations to embrace love, acceptance, and equal rights for everyone,” Yang tells of his piece titled “Hope Reborn.” “I used discarded materials from Pride, I created this portrait, capturing the essence of Milk as an LGBTQ+ rights activist, politician, and artist. By repurposing items that represent the waste produced by corporate America, I aim to transform the remains of celebration into a powerful representation, serving as a poignant reminder.”
Additional exhibit highlights include symbolic, rope-like textiles; a “Pride wreath”; a portrait of chromatic pop stars; and more.
In a current time where LGBTQIA+ rights continue to be under attack, What Remains exists as a poignant example of why the support for the queer community needs to be a year-round constant — all while reminding us of the inherent strength and resilience of queer folk.
‘What Remains’ will remain open to the public between August 4th and August 26th; for more information on the exhibit, including the silent auction set up for the pieces, visit whatremainsart.com.