GAYLETTERGAYLETTER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW LEIFHEIT

A preview of Matthew Leifheit’s ‘Fire Island Night’

Edmund White wrote that Fire Island “is a place of rituals, where dinners, tea-dances and sex parties rhyme in the ‘imagination with the rituals of medieval Japan or Versailles.'” The author is most certainly not alone in attempting to encapsulate the ethos and ennui of Fire Island. It is the setting for several iconic photographs and novels, including the abounding if not most quintessential Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran. This past summer, Brooklyn-based photographer and GAYLETTER contributor Matthew Leifheit spent his days and nights out among the island’s most storied locations. Holding residence at Cherry Grove’s Belvedere Guest House, Matthew traipsed among Fire Island hot stops to construct and document the “composite sensibility, of the past rhyming with the present, of anarchy blended with grandeur” that delineates the island’s lore.

 

A bit of the island’s magic has been corrupted in recent years with the introduction of dating apps, harsher drug culture, and wicked storms, which have severely damaged the famed beaches along Long Island’s south shore. Yet while the homosexual histrionics of Fire Island culture may have shifted, Matthew’s Fire Island Night, opening October 26th, 2018 at Deli Gallery, suggests the thread of sexuality, intimacy and companionship that has long defined gay male culture may not be lost in the queer (possibly near) future.

 

Fire Island, for all that it is worth, will continue to benefit from artists creating works focused on the location. Whether they reflect on its past or reimagine it’s present, each year we return to the rituals of Fire Island that continue to magnify homosexual taste in the world.

 

Scroll down to see a preview of the show on view through December 2, 2018.

All images courtesy of Deli Gallery.

 

The Balcony, 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum. 10×27 3/8 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Adam, 2017. Dye sublimation print on aluminum. 10×6 3/4 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Gustavo, 2017.Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×6 3/4 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Meat Rack Gathering, 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×15 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Wave (Hudson and MeHow), 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×15 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Mohamed, 2017. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×6 3/4 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Transfer, 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×6 3/4 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

The Spiral Staircase, 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×6 3/4 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.

 

Hue (After the Fire) II, 2018. Dye sublimation print on aluminum 10×25 inches. Edition 1/3 + I AP.