The Stud’s Iconic Murals Have Been Whitewashed

Later, an anonymous artist wrote “Black Lives Matter” on the now-beige walls.

Last month, when the Stud vacated its 33-year-old home at the corner of 9th and Harrison St., it marked the end of an era for the oldest gay bar in San Francisco. 

“Think of the most magnificently fabulous queer human you ever met in San Francisco,” Peter Lawrence Kane, a former editor for SF Weekly, wrote. “Right now, that individual is probably bawling his or her or their or judy’s eyes out — because the Stud is closing.”

Even though the Stud’s 17 owners plan on eventually making a comeback, its former location is lost, along with its iconic murals. Last weekend, the exterior of what used to be the Stud was whitewashed with beige paint in the middle of Pride Month.

It’s an unfortunately symbolic move considering the bar was a significant figure in the San Francisco queer community, one that’s been trying to survive the city’s gentrification. Gone are the vibrant stripes, letters and eclectic illustrations that used to decorate the bar’s navy exterior.

“Awful, unacceptable behavior from the landlord immediately painting over the Stud,” District Six Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted. “They cannot erase The Stud. The Stud will be back. Paint murals wherever you can. Art and culture will win. Creativity, joy and celebration will win.”

The original murals were painted in 2017 for Pride Week by artists Xara Thustra, Monica Canilao and Hugo Girl. And while their work might be covered over in a sickly, vanilla hue, someone — people aren’t sure who — repainted the space again, this time adding a big pink triangle over the sand-colored walls. 

“Black Lives Matter,” the wall now reads in all capitalized letters. “We will not be erased.”

The Stud could not comment at this time.

Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at gli@sfweekly.com or follow her on Twitter @gracezhali.

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