Fighting Back | Lessons From AIDS For Covid-19: Art and Artists in Pandemic

On Wednesday April 8, 2020 I was part of a panel talking about “Fighting Back | Lessons From AIDS For Covid-19: Art and Artists in Pandemic.”  The other speakers included Terry Beswick (moderator); Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society, Lenore Chinn; a painter, photographer and cultural activist, E.G. Crichton; an interdisciplinary artist and emerita professor of art at the University of California Santa Cruz, Katie Conry; Executive Director of the Tenderloin Museum, and Leo Herrera: a Mexican self-taught visual artist, activist and writer based in San Francisco.

A video of this Zoom conversation is available by clicking here:

GLBT Panel Discussion


Queeries_header_1920X1080“Queeries” is Joseph Abbati’s inquiry on the masculine figure and forms of expression from a queer point of view. Masculinity is a social construct, not a gender.  Its definition in the queer community has a different context from the prevailing social heteronormative canons. The paintings in this exhibit reveal masculine forms depicting queer identity, kinks, and beauty. 

Opening reception Friday, March 6, 2020, 8-10pm at Strut, 470 Castro St, San Francisco, California 94114.

The Artist As Curator

TAAC_HeaderMy next curation project for Senator Scott Wiener’s office will open February 14th, 2020. “The Artist as Curator” will be an exhibit by twelve San Francisco Bay Area artists each curating a space on a diverse set of current topics and interests.

The artists curating include: Grey Dey, Paul Goldman, Paul Morin, Heidi Noriko, Tsungwei Moo, Sean O’Donnell, Joseph Abbati, Wendy Ackrell, John J Hartford, Johnny Botts, Carrington Arredondo, and Elaine T. Nguyen. In addition, these artists have also brought together additional artists including Mariya Milovidova, Christian Martin, Ben James, Alex Strysky, Ryan Johnson, Rafael SanHueza-Leni, Rachel Altman, Birthe Lauvdal, Misho, Deb Cook Shapiro, Daniel Becker, Manny Fabregas, and Katja Leibenath.

Opening Reception: February 14, 2020, 5-7pm
Senator Scott Weiner’s Office: 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 14800, State of California Building, San Francisco
Exhibition dates: February 14 – March 27, 2020

Please RSVP here:

Each guest will need to RSVP because this is an after business hour event and the State of California building requires a name to enter.

Queens at City Hall

“LARGER THAN LIFE,” a portrait series of San Francisco drag queens made into tapestries, is on view at San Francisco City Hall in the office of Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.  The nine drag queens include Sister Roma, Juanita More!, Peaches Christ, Heklina, Honey Mahogany, Shelix, Turleen, Grace Towers, and Juicy Lui.  A reception will be held on December 19th from 4-5:50pm in room 284.

“Abstrax” Exhibit


I’ve co-curated the exhibit “Abstrax” with Radian Gallery featuring eleven Bay Area abstract artists. Abstrax features the talent of emerging and mid-career artists working in the Abstract Expressionist style, and whose collected works showcase how their exploration of this genre continues to deliver engaging and evocative creativity.

Contributing Artists: Ali Saif, Ann Phelan, Athena Kim, Cindy Jian, Kees van der Proojen, Olivia Kuo, Robert di Matteo, Tom O’Brien, Usha Shukla, Myke Reilly, and William Salit.

The exhibit will be up November 7 – December 31, 2019. Opening reception November 7th, 6-8pm.

Radian Gallery is located at 440 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94107.

Radian Gallery:

New Paintings

These paintings come from the graphic studies I’ve been doing looking at the queer male figure combined with earlier forms from my “Amorfa” series to create a new narrative.

“Embrace,” 2019, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″
“Entwined,” 2019, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″
“Sniffer”, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″
“Wrestle Me,” 2019, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″
“Mouthful”, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Joseph Abbati on using Male Forms to Tackle the Censorship of Queer Contemporary Art on Social Media



Joseph Abbati Bio



I have been creating work in San Francisco since 1978.  In the 1980’s I started a menswear collection called Saxon.  In 1985 I was named Menswear Designer of the Year by San Francisco Magazine for their Golden Shears Awards.

In the 1990’s I turned my attention to digital arts and began working with photography.  I worked as an art director and designer during this period.

The 2000’s brought me into the marketing retail world where I worked as a Creative Director for three Fortune 500 companies.  My passion in photography, composition, and form translated well in the commercial sector.  Concurrently, I was working on more personal work through photography.



In 2010 I left the corporate world and started my own business, D Quarters, to fuse my love of photography with decor.  I came across a new digital technique that allowed me to…

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