How a 1973 museum showed some LGBTQ solidarity

The Museumplein (or museum square) in Amsterdam city is a huge tourist attraction. I've always loved Van Gogh's 'Almond Blossoms' and so when I first visited Amsterdam at the end of July this year, his museum was the first thing I went to. The place is the stuff of dreams for a history and/or Van Gogh nut. But what struck me on my visit here was the entrance to the museum:

A 3D chalk drawing of The Yellow Brick Road from the film 'Wizard of Oz' (1939) , in support of the LGBT community. 
Amsterdam had the Europride parade in the first week of August, and this was the museum’s way of participating. This immersive 'street art' has rainbow flags on either side, bricks falling off at one end, bright pink high heels, and sunflowers that pop out. Feels like this piece of work is illustrative of what the LGBTQ movement wants to do: overcome the oppression of discrimination, by associating itself with colour, wonder, and happiness. Pop culture and its interpretations have come to meet the immovable relics of treasured history— and vice versa.  

Photo by Anusha

Photo by Anusha

Why interpret 'Wizard of Oz'? Because of the lead actor Judy Garland who is a gay icon. And because in the movie, Dorothy wants to find a better world. And because the movie is about freedom and tolerance.

In all, the The Museumplein houses three major museums (The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum, and The Stedelijk Museum) and the very popular “I Amsterdam” sign. Of the lot, the Van Gogh Museum is the nicest. It's got a ton of Van Gogh's famous “self portraits”, and gives us an understanding about his relationship with his brother Theo and his love for the rural life and of course his insanity (to cut one’s own ear off!). The museum store has a great collection of fun things to buy (phone cases, crockery, postcards and more!) with Van Gogh’s paintings on them. 

Given all the hate (especially at the LGBTQ community) in recent times, the yellow tones (because yellow is the colour of happiness and also the colour of the famous Van Gogh series, "Sunflowers”) of the Brick Road is a great way to show some love.

It’s hard to not like museums that do such thoughtful, yet fun things. Nobody ever got hurt showing love.

Museum director  Axel Rüger walks the Yellow Brick Road with fictional character Dorothy.   via  vangoghmuseum

Museum director Axel Rüger walks the Yellow Brick Road with fictional character Dorothy.

via vangoghmuseum


Text by Anusha