June 11, 2021

June is Pride Month! MCA Denver Staff Shares Their Influential Artists and Creators


June is Pride Month! It is a time to honor the 1969 Stonewall uprising in NYC, which is considered the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Throughout the month, we will honor and celebrate Pride by telling the story of some of the achievements of LGBTQ+ Americans to this country’s history and culture.   

We asked our staff to share artists/creators that have impacted their lives, as well as have made an influence on American arts and culture. 

Brad Ingles - Membership and Community Partnerships Manager 

Artist - Activist Briden Schueren

portrait of the artist


Briden Schueren is not only an incredible international queer trans activist, artist, and business owner, who shares his life’s journey through his art, but also an awesome friend and incredible human being. Schueren is a self-taught painter who uses unconventional methods and techniques in his work, including handcrafting his own paintbrushes to further enhance his unique usage of color, movement, and texture in each piece.

My favorite work from Schueren is a print I own titled Fluffy Balloons. The colors and growth of these fluffy balloons into a gorgeous sky coming from the dark ground and scary-looking shed is a constant uplifting moment for me. This piece hangs in my living room and brings me joy every day. 

fluffy balloons by artist, Briden Schueren
Fluffy Balloons


Check out more work from his collection and learn more about Briden Schueren by visiting his website here: https://www.thatguysart.com/.

Courtney Law - Director of Communications, Partnerships, and Digital Initiatives 

Abstract Painter Julie Mehretu

portrait of the artist, Julie Mehretu
Getty Images/Cindy Ord


Julie Mehretu was born in Ethiopia in 1970. Her parents, both educators, fled the country in 1977 to escape political turmoil and landed in East Lansing, Michigan. After attending Kalamazoo College, Mehretu sought her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. 

My own words would fail to adequately capture her work and style so here is what the Whitney Museum, which is currently exhibiting a mid-career show of Mehretu’s has said:

  • She creates new forms and finds unexpected resonances by drawing from the histories of art and human civilization—from Babylonian stelae to architectural sketches, from European history painting to the sites and symbols of African liberation movements. Some of Mehretu’s imagery and titles hint at their representational origins, but her work remains steadfastly abstract.

She has received many awards including the MacArthur Fellowship and the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award and she was featured in Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in 2019. Architect Sir David Adjaye OBE wrote admiringly of her work for the issue: 

  • Julie Mehretu’s work—painting abstract three-dimensional landscapes that represent our often chaotic socio-political climate—is profoundly meaningful in the way that it frames stories and places. She creates her own language that serves as a portal to a place where expressionism collapses time, only to reveal our relationship to space...As an admirer and an architect, I’m both interested and encapsulated by Julie’s ability to let us see reality as it is, rather than how we experience it through our own senses.
A love supreme Ink and acrylic on canvas
 A Love Supreme, 2014-2018, Marian Goodman Gallery 


Mehretu’s work has been exhibited in museums and biennials including the Sydney Biennial (2006), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2019), and the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, (2019). 

Mehretu lives and works in New York City with her former partner, artist Jessica Rankin, and their two children. 

Additional resources: 

Julie Mehretu - MoMa

Julie Mehretu - Whitney Museum

Julie Mehretu: Politicized Landscapes - art21

Read Last Week's Pride Share Here!