National Portrait Gallery
2 July - 18 October 2009
Selected by Waheed Alli, Alan Hollinghurst, Elton John, Jackie Kay, Billie Jean King, Ian McKellen, Chris Smith, Ben Summerskill, Sandi Toksvig and Sarah Waters
Gay Icons explores gay social and cultural history through the unique personal insights of ten high–profile gay figures, who have selected their historical and modern icons. The chosen icons, who may or may not be gay themselves, have all been important to each selector, having influenced or inspired them.
The choices provide a fascinating range of inspiring figures – some very famous, some heroic, others relatively unknown. Spanning the worlds of entertainment, art, music, literature, sport and politics they include artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney, civil rights campaigner Harvey Milk, writers Quentin Crisp, Joe Orton, Daphne Du Maurier, Patricia Highsmith and Walt Whitman, composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, musicians k.d. lang, Will Young and Village People, entertainers Ellen DeGeneres, Kenneth Williams and Lily Savage, and Nelson Mandela and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Their fascinating stories will be illustrated by sixty photographic portraits including works by Andy Warhol, Linda McCartney, Fergus Greer and Cecil Beaton.