New exhibition brings leather and its place in sexual expression out of the closet

Monica Eng
June 7, 2024 – Culture

Photo of a painting of two people and three flowers

Mosaics that David Lee Csicsko made for Campagna Academy are among the pieces in a retrospective of his work at the Epiphany Center for the Arts opening Friday. Photo courtesy of David Lee Csicsko

The work of Chicago artist David Lee Csicsko takes center stage at the Chase Gallery in “Mr. Fancy Pants: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Icons” opening Friday.

Why it matters: Csicsko’s art has become interwoven into Chicago’s fabric with mosaics at the Belmont Red Line station, designs on Mariano’s shopping bags, posters for the City of Chicago, Gay Games logo designs, and murals in local schools, churches and other institutions.

  • He’s also the visual force behind inclusive booksThe Skin I Live InandLGBTQ+ Icons.”
  • The show offers a 35-year retrospective of the artist’s recognizable bold and playful designs.
Photo of three paintings side by side
Portraits of Dusty Springfield, Josephine Baker and Keith Haring by David Lee Csicsko hang in the Chase Gallery. Photo courtesy of David Lee Csicsko

What they’re saying: “I feel lucky to earn my living making pictures, fully believing that you can change the world, one picture at a time,” Csicsko tells Axios.

  • “With all the harsh complexities of our culture, I feel the need to make images celebrating our humanity and our communities. We all need to see joy and to smile, in these dark times.”


About Epiphany Center for the Arts

Conceived with the vision to return Epiphany to a place for people to congregate, the shuttered, historic Church of the Epiphany has been preserved and adapted into the Epiphany Center for the Arts, an iconic cultural hub “For the Good of Art, Entertainment and Events.” Thoughtfully designed, the exemplary 42,000-square-foot campus located on the artsy edge of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood boasts three distinct venues (Epiphany Hall, The Sanctuary and The Chase House) and a stunning array of amenities. The campus also features eight galleries that serve as a platform for a diverse selection of artists from Chicago and beyond. Epiphany’s exhibitions showcase the work of women, the LGBTQIA community, artists of color, and the disability culture. Epiphany’s top priority is to curate programming that is inclusive, while providing a place established artists can collaborate with emerging ones. Epiphany’s programming serves to unite community and artists alike while “Bringing Chicago Together.” Visit to learn more.