George Krevsky Gallery is honored to present, Beth Van Hoesen: Portraits from the Castro,
on view from January 3 through February 1, 2014. A benefit exhibition featuring artworks
donated by the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust to raise funds for the
construction of San Francisco's newest public monument, the Rainbow Honor Walk. Available
artworks include watercolors, drawings, and prints from the 1990s that depict colorful
personalities that Van Hoesen encountered in her neighborhood, including well-known figures in
the LGBT community. The exhibition is free and open to the public at the Gallery is located at 77
Geary Street in San Francisco's Union Square neighborhood.
Celebrating the gallery's 21st year, Krevsky has been dedicated to showcasing art of the
highest quality that documents the cultural history of the 20th century. With a focus on the WPA,
Ashcan, and Social Realist art movements, the gallery has a commitment to artists who give
voice to the under recognized. Van Hoesen's artworks give voice and are a lasting testament to
the energy of the LGBT community and residents of San Francisco. To complement the show,
the gallery will exhibit additional works by Van Hoesen and related artists.
For more than forty years, Beth Van Hoesen (1926-2010) and her husband, artist and designer,
Mark Adams (1925-2006), lived in an old firehouse on 22nd Street at the top of the Castro
Street hill, where they hosted weekly drawing sessions, joined by prominent Bay Area artists
Robert Bechtle, William Theophilus Brown, Gordon Cook, Wayne Thiebaud, and others. In the
late 1980s and 1990s, Van Hoesen became particularly fascinated with people she saw in her
neighborhood, occasionally inviting them to pose for her at the firehouse exclusively.
Many of the artworks from Van Hoesen's sessions with her Castro neighbors have not
previously been exhibited or available until now. Artworks of Castro personalities range from
leather-clad, dyed, and tattooed punks and queers, to well-known figures such as the Sisters of
Perpetual Indulgence and the late Jose Sarria, known as The Widow Norton. Thanks to this
generous gift from the artist's estate these portraits are now available to benefit the Rainbow
"We are absolutely thrilled and so grateful for the generosity of this gift of artworks to benefit the
Rainbow Honor Walk," said David Perry. "The fact that these portraits celebrate some of the
Castro's noted personalities is more than perfect, particularly coming from an artist of the stature
of Beth Van Hoesen."
Portland-area critic Bob Hicks, who has written extensively about Van Hoesen's work, notes:
"The most surprising thing about these bright, giddy portraits is that Van Hoesen, by then in her
seventies, did them. She painted the performers as big bold rare birds, mostly close-up, in
uncharacteristic splashes of color filling the whole frame. The Sisters have huge eyelashes,
gaudy baubles, exaggerated makeup, vivid eye shadow. Van Hoesen concentrated on capturing
their showy sense of highly personal style."
Throughout her career, Beth Van Hoesen was honored for her artistic achievements, including a
1981 Award of Honor in Graphics from the San Francisco Arts Commission, and a 1993
Distinguished Artist Award from the California Society of Printmakers. Her works are in
important museums collections across the U.S. and abroad that include the J.P. Morgan Library,
New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and have been the subject of
numerous exhibitions and publications. During the past two years, solo exhibitions of Van
Hoesen's paintings, drawings, and prints have been presented at several U.S. museums,
including the University Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames; Racine Art Museum,
Wisconsin; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; and
the Monterey Museum of Art in California.
The Rainbow Honor Walk, a volunteer committee of community leaders, received the
unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create the sidewalk
monument, featuring bronze plaques honoring noted personalities in LGBT history, with the first
phase to be installed along Castro Street in 2014. Eventually, the walk will extend from the
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond, down to Castro Street—the LGBT
community's "Main Street"—and will continue up Market Street with additional extensions on 18th
Street. On Market Street, San Francisco's main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT
Center at Octavia Boulevard.