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Art in Queer LA

July 5, 2014 by Phil Tarley in Art with 0 Comments

Two gay art shows are running simultaneously. One, in West Hollywood, celebrates the iconography of classical Greco-Roman culture, the other, in Chinatown, is an antipodal ode to postmodern in your face queer irreverence. One show is elegant, the other kind of raw. To see them both together on the same night allows the viewer to parse and ponder queer visual archetypes, both sacred and profane.

James Bidgood, Pan, 1965. Digital C-print. Courtesy of the artist and ClampArt, New York

James Bidgood, Pan, 1965. Digital C-print. Courtesy of the artist and ClampArt, New York

Artist unknown, Replica of The Warren Cup, original c. mid-1st century AD. Silver, unnumbered issue from edition of twelve. Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York. Image of the original courtesy of The British Museum.

Artist unknown, Replica of The Warren Cup, original c. mid-1st century AD. Silver, unnumbered issue from edition of twelve. Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York. Image of the original courtesy of The British Museum.

Del LaGrace Volcano, The Three Graces, Jasper, Suzie and Gill, London, 1992. Digital C-print, 30 x 23.5 inches. Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York

Del LaGrace Volcano, The Three Graces, Jasper, Suzie and Gill, London, 1992. Digital C-print, 30 x 23.5 inches. Collection of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York

The ONE Archives Gallery Museum on Robertson Boulevard is showing The Classical Nude and the Making of Queer History,which opened June 29 and will run all summer until September 7, 2014.

Organized by Leslie-Lohman, Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, and curated by David Katz. The Classical Nude and the Making of Queer History ” investigates how the visual iconography of Greco-Roman culture has acted as a recurring touchstone in the development of same-sex representation. Within the canon of western art history, images of the classical past have acted as a sensitive barometer for the shifting constructions of what we today call LGBT or queer culture. The classical past is queer culture’s central origin myth, and tracing how this tradition has been utilized by queer artists over time offers far more information about the cultural context that appropriates the classical than it does about that past itself.”  That came from the notes of the curator.

Austin Young. Dani Daniels, Los Angeles, 2011. Archival inkjet print. Edition 1/10

Austin Young. Dani Daniels, Los Angeles, 2011. Archival inkjet print. Edition 1/10

Bruce LaBruce with Nina Arsenault; Canadian artist. Tripartite Goddess I, II, III, 2011. Archival photograph. Signed on verso 1/10 -- 18 x 28 in.

Bruce LaBruce with Nina Arsenault; Canadian artist. Tripartite Goddess I, II, III, 2011. Archival photograph. Signed on verso 1/10 — 18 x 28 in.

Ruben Esparza, LA artist. FATA (From the Archives to the Archives). Mixed media 1994-2014. Various sizes.

Ruben Esparza, LA artist. FATA (From the Archives to the Archives). Mixed media 1994-2014. Various sizes.

This presentation at the ONE Gallery is a condensed preview of a show to open at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in October 2014. Containing over ninety-five objects, the exhibition in New York will include works by Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, Jacopo Pontormo, Andrea Mantegna, F. Holland Day, Romaine Brooks, Claude Cahun, Herbert List, Jess, Paul Cadmus, and Pierre et Gilles, in addition to the works presented here, and will be accompanied by a scholarly exhibition catalogue.

Queer Biannale I, at Mat Gleason’s Coagula Curatorial on Chung King Road, also opened on June 28th and runs until July 19th 2014. The exhibition is curated by Ruben Esparza, who also has a mixed media piece in the show. Artists include Rick Castro, Ben Cuevas, Connie Fleming, Chasen Igleheart, Brian Kenny, Bruce LaBruce, Scooter LaForge, Lili Lakich, Slava Mogutin, Mel Odom, Gio Black Peter, Miguel Angel Reyes, Robert W. Richards, AB Soto, SUPERM, Alonso Tapia, and Austin Young, one of my personal favorites.

This ribald show is the work of flaming OUT/QUEER/LGBT emerging, mid-career, and established artists. Culled from a list of West Coast, East Coast, and Middle-America artists. From the curatorial statement…“Handpicked artists that do not shy away from sexuality, identity, the body, and all around queerness.”

Phil Tarley

About Phil Tarley

Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute, an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association and writes about contemporary art, pop culture and photography for Fabrik Magazine. He curates at the A C Gallery in Los Angeles and founded Round Hole Square Peg, a biannual, international survey of LGBTQ photography shown at the Photo LA. Tarley is also a critical essayist for Katharine T. Carter & Associates, an art advisory service that  helps artists obtain museum exhibitions. His personal series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the permanent collection of the New York Public Library and has screened in film festivals and museums like the American Film Institute,and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, under his nom de porn, Phil St. John, Tarley was inducted into the Gay Porn Hall of Fame for his 20-year producing and directing career. His writing and photography have also appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, The WOW Report, Adventure Journal, the Advocate, Frontiers, Adult Video News, Genre, Instinct and American Photo Magazine. His book, Going down On Cuba: Notes from An Underground Traveler,  is slated to be published later in the year by Fabrik Press.  

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