On exhibit through January 2024
The Haight Street Art Center is honored to present “We Are Vera,” a survey of photographs, outfits, and head pieces by Michael Johnstone and David Faulk. The exhibition will run through the end of the year, concurrently with “Prince 2 Queens,” a solo show by Serge Gay Jr.
Mrs. Vera—named for 1970s textile designer Vera Neumann—was born in a time of death, when treatments for AIDS were still years away and funerals for friends doubled as all-too-frequent get-togethers for dazed survivors. As such, Mrs. Vera was an attempt to make sense of what was happening around—and to—Faulk and Johnstone, wedging a bit of bittersweet whimsy into those inexplicable times. Life, the artists seemed to be saying, was too short to wear a boring hat.
For the record, Mrs. Vera never wore a boring hat, as “We Are Vera'' makes abundantly clear. Faulk’s creations suggest a mashup of the inaccurately vibrant Regency gowns of Bridgerton and a heretofore unknown couture collection popular with the aliens of Star Trek: Voyager. Johnstone’s photographs of his partner in art, life, and love documented Mrs. Vera’s days, whether she appears to have just tumbled down a flight of stairs or is peeking coquettishly through shrubbery in Golden Gate Park. The exhibition also includes photos from the Verasphere, the word Johnstone and Faulk have given to the community that is created when throngs of friends join them in donning Mrs. Vera attire, especially during Pride.