clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Just in Time for Pride, the Rainbow Flag Achieves Modern Art Status

Juan Carlos Betancourt

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

San Francisco's Pride weekend is still a week away, but the Museum of Modern Art is giving the city a reason to celebrate early: curators have acquired the rainbow flag that artist Gilbert Baker created in San Francisco in 1978, Hyperallergic reports.

In an interview on MoMA's Inside/Out blog, Baker recalls that the idea for his original eight-striped design grew out of the US bicentennial celebrations in 1976. Baker —who learned to sew so he could make his own drag costumes in the 70s— tells the blog that the first two Rainbow Flags were part of a collaborative process with a team of approximately 30 volunteers.

The original design featured hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo/blue, and violet) stripes but the version you typically see today has only six stripes. Hot pink is completely gone, now and indigo and turquoise have been collectively replaced with royal blue.

Baker downplays his role in creating the iconic flag, saying, "I was in the right place at the right time to make the thing that we needed... We needed something beautiful, something from us. The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things."

For more on Baker's design —including his thoughts on the most surprisingly popular rainbow flag products— check out the full article here.