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June 27, 2015 AT 8:43 am

MoMA acquires the Rainbow Flag @MuseumModernArt

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MoMA | MoMA Acquires the Rainbow Flag.

…MoMA has acquired the iconic Rainbow Flag into its design collection, where it joins similarly universal symbols such as the @ symbol, the Creative Commons logo, and the recycling symbol. Artist Gilbert Baker created the Rainbow Flag in 1978 in San Francisco. Just a few days ago, he met Michelle Millar Fisher in MoMA’s offices to record an interview for the MoMA Archives, part of which is transcribed here.

…It took four hands to move the fabric through the machine, 20 hands to iron the fabric. I remember one day we had it all in the dye bath—you have to set the dye, and then you have to rinse it out. We looked at each other thinking “we’ll take it to the Laundromat.” Well, they have all these signs at the Laundromat saying “do not dye” so of course we wait until everyone is gone late at night and run into a Laundromat and fill every machine with quarters and blast them all—and [the machines turn] every color of the rainbow! We threw Clorox in [the machines] afterwards hoping that the next customers weren’t walking out of there with pink underwear! It was certainly not like the way they are made today, but I treasure those memories because it really was a beautiful process and I really love all the people who were there.

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