Museum of Gay and Lesbian Culture

Read and Tyson Street

This is the approximate site of the coprophagic last scene of John Watersí Pink Flamingos (1972) (The film was released in 1972 but was filmed over an extended period of time. Itís possible the stencil should have read 1970 or 1971). An homage to the late great Divine.

After the initial release of the ìCity of Baltimore to Open Nine New Museumsî project to the press and public, there was considerable discussion as to whether this site was appropriately representative of either the Gay or or Lesbian communities. Take the following comments in the Local News section of the Baltimore Gay Paper, August 16, 1996 as reported by Jenny Gough:

Of course, implicit in this project is the CCCís challenge to Baltimore to rethink its idea of what a museum is and could be. And stencil art (or anti-art as some think of it) because it encourages people to think about the absorption and marginalization of outsider art and the insider/outsider culture wars, is en vogue among academics and other theoreticians. People can argue about just what ìGay and Lesbian Cultureî is.

The museum site is where, in Pink Flamingos, Divine is made to prove she is really divine by eating dog feces. Given the once Baltimorean Watersí treatment of females, which many have found misogynist, it is up for argument how many lesbian John Waters fans there actually are.

While the CCC is an anonymous group whose membership is a carefully guarded secret, local artist, writer and critic Peter Walsh, who co-wrote the Maryland Art Place exhibit brochure on stencil art says, ëI do think its a representation of a particular Baltimore gay culture. What a great idea that there should be a museum to commemorate this place.î When asked why he thought the CCC did not choose to make a ìmuseumî of the now unmarked house where Gertrude Stein once lived on Biddle Street, Walsh answers, ìIf people argue about whether that was the best place for the museum, thatís welcome.î The success of the project is that hopefully it gets people thinking.î

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