The first time I ever heard the name Leonard Fink, I was an impressionable journalism student in my second portraiture class — my professor showed my class some of his self-portraiture work and I remember being enamored. Fink’s self portraiture at times is rather straightforward: a photograph of him shooting his reflection in a mirror. But at other times, he manages to photograph himself more in terms of his identity and the implications that came with his gayness in the context of 1970s- and 80s- in New York City. Somehow, his self-portraiture transcended — still transcends — his self. If you’ve never heard of the dude — I mean, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page — or even if you have, Leslie-Lohman Museum in SoHo is giving you the chance to see it. The exhibition OUT FOR THE CAMERA: The Self-Portraits of Leonard Fink just went on view and will remain so until early August. The exhibition is the first “to focus on Fink’s photographs that explore themes of exhibitionism and identity. It also includes several related works of self-portraiture and images of New York City piers by such artists as Gail Thacker, Tee A. Corinne, Del LaGrace Volcano and others.” These comparisons are not intended to only provide context to Fink’s photographs; rather, they will “draw out the singularity of Fink’s vision.” Clock me gagging over it during my lunch break.
This is the artist’s fourth exhibition of photography by artist Mark Morrisroe titled “Boy Next Door (Beautiful But Dumb)” which, as highlighted in the press release, is a reference to one of the key images included in the show. Here’s a bit more background on Morrisroe and this exhibition: “Mark Morrisroe was born in Malden, Massachusetts, north of Boston, and grew up in the area before attending the prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he first met such artists as Doug and Mike Starn and Gail Thacker, and was inspired by older photographers such as Nan Goldin and David Armstrong. It was there that Morrisroe befriended fellow student Pat Hearn, and the two spent a summer together in Provincetown in 1980. By early 1983, Hearn moved to New York City where she established her eponymous gallery in the East Village and began selling Morrisroe’s work. ClampArt’s exhibition is comprised primarily of photographs acquired directly from Hearn before her untimely death at age forty-five in 2000.” Click here to see a preview of the exhibition, which is on view until March 24th.
A judgement free space where sexuality and freedom of expression is encouraged.
Love Bailey is an artist of many mediums. Her most poignant work seems to be life itself. On Instagram, she markets inclusion to the highest degree, monologuing through her Instagram-stories and offering advice to live a more open, love-filled life. Her bio reads: “I’m not afraid of my Shenis.”
Besides styling, creative directing and hosting/throwing a number of lavish cabaret-style parties in Los Angeles and New York, she has recently begun a residency program at her coveted and enigmatic Savage Ranch. Sprawling over 45 acres of land, the Savage Ranch Residency is open to artists of every medium: From painting, to sculpture, to performance, to design. Her very first resident was Sinead O’Dwyer, a fashion design student from London exploring everyday perceptions of the body through one-of-a-kind pieces patterned for individual bodies.
“The Savage Ranch Residency is an opportunity for artists to come explore a ranch outside the concrete jungle and get in touch with nature,” Love told me over e-mail. “We offer a judgement free space where sexuality and freedom of expression is encouraged. With 45 acres of land, 7 horses, 4 pigs, chickens, lesbian construction workers, and a weed farm, we offer an experience that is different from anywhere else. We are dedicated to making this ranch a utopian fantasy by giving artists a safe space to create.”
Photographed by Max Runko, Sinead and Love modeled the pieces made over the two-week residency. Sinead offered her own words on the experience for those who want to learn more about their experience. …
I started taking note of Katherine Bernhardt’s work after I saw cigarettes on her canvases. One of her paintings she posted to her Instagram took up the better half of someone’s living room wall, and aside from the lushious palm leaves she has a particular affinity for there were cigarettes orientated right beside the vegetation. I thought, Wow… how stupid! I mean that in the most generous of ways. It takes a certain level of skill to achieve a balance in painting, especially when you’re inserting pop-arty items like Bernhardt does. You can catch the Pink Panther, Darth Vader and Garfield all on display at her most recent show at Canada. Featuring eight canvases and an additional six sculptures, GREEN is what you would expect from a Bernhardt show. I mostly went because the very first canvas exhibited on Canada is visible from the street, and I could not help but laugh every time I walked past. One thing I should mention is that this particular painting, titled “Direct Flight” is fucking 114 x 318 inches — It takes up the entire wall. Not to mention the juxtaposition of cigarettes and pink watermelon surrounding what seriously looks like a flightless bird is just totally hilarious. I’m really interested in her content because frankly it makes no sense, though my best guess — what with all of the American iconography — is that she has a deep interest in what has become banal to the contemporary person. Coke cans, coffee machines, Lisa Simpson, sharpies. This is an artist who loves Capitalism’s detritus and welcomes them into the world of paint with messy strokes, a disregard for reapplication of color, and spray paint. It’s all very cheery in Bernhardt’s world, at least that’s what I’m taking from it as an American in 2018! On view through Feb. 11th.
If you’ve ever been to Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair in New York or Art Basel, you know that these sorts of bazaar-style, art-driven spaces feel like highly competitive arenas. They’re driven by art, of course, plus consumerism and all of the trendy-folk who love to go out to see and be seen. If that’s totally not your schtick, I get it. It can be exhausting to pretend your fabulous, or even care, but this weekend you’re in luck! Back for its 20th edition is Postcards From the Edge. Featuring postcard size works from a handful of celebrated artists like Catherine Opie, Nicole Eisenman, Nayland Blake, Tom Bianchi, Marilyn Minter and many other queer-focused photographers and painters, over 1,500 works displayed will all be on sale from Friday through Sunday for an eye-popping $85 with proceeds going towards the organization celebrating their 30th year! That means even if you’re struggling to make rent, you could budget your funds right (say no to brunch this weekend) and end up owning a serious piece of art. Here’s the catch: The works are shown anonymously, so you’ll have to spend a particular amount of time assessing the works if you’re after a particular name. I chatted with Esther McGowan, Executive Director of Visual AIDS and she said, “Saturday is very busy, with collectors vying to grab artwork that they think is by a well known artist. Sunday is more chill, with a great special – BUY 2 GET THE 3RD FREE!” Because I’ve been to many similar fairs, I wanted to get the inside scoop: Was there any way of spotting the well known artists? How can we beat crowds? She just told me to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend time looking at a lot of art. “It’s not always easy to spot works by well-known artists – sometimes they create a work for us that is in a different style than their usual.” Good to know!
The multimedia event took place at American Medium in NYC
Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon is a massive show at the New Museum. When we decamped for the opening night party it felt like every queer who makes the art world buzzy was there for a peek at the many who are contouring what we know as gender. Amidst sculptures, photographs and paintings, a delicious collage featuring vintage pornography hung on one of the gallery walls. It was by no means an in your face work, but its subtlety seemed to toy with everything Trigger is about: gender, sexuality, race, subverting the socio-political identity. Troy Michie has been working in assemblage for several years now. Having come out of grad school pursuing research-based work (the pornography and other images in his work are sourced), his first solo show up at Company Gallery Fat Cat Came to Play continues his ongoing exploration of blackness, queerness and sexuality within assemblage. While earlier works deal more explicitly with sex, his solo show takes queerness seen as a fashion and elaborates on the socio-political/socio-economic characteristics built into the Zoot Suit. Popularized by jazz musicians and typically seen worn by black men, this fashion was co-opted by butch lesbians in the 50s and has a silent queer history itself. Company exhibits several new works with sourced materials from vintage Vogue pages, to some of Michie’s own repurposed clothing. Most noteworthy is a customized zoot suit he had made by a local Texas tailor. It sits among 2017 back issues of The New York Times, beginning with Inauguration Day. Michie, who has Mexican relatives, wanted to explore labor and how that’s convoluted into daily fashion, especially in the tumultuous lens of contemporary American politics. The show nods at queerness, blue-collar labor, and how fashion — an armor of its own — has been dictating class structures since the beginning of the 20th century.
Gio Black Peter and Brian Kenny's multi-media creative lab is back with performance, film, dance, art and more.
Gio Black Peter and Brian Kenny — longtime friends, creative collaborators and GAYLETTER contributors — met while bartending. The two got popular in the downtown scene with their big old art party “Over the Knee.” They’ve brought “OTK” back for another installment, and we sent them a few questions to learn more about the show.
Why is it called OTK2? Brian & Gio: OTK is an acronym for “Over The Knee.” This is our second Over The Knee event, so it’s OTK2! The phrase “Over the Knee” is a reference to spanking. We both like this action phrase because spanking is about rule-breaking, administering discipline/taking action, sex (both playful and serious) and irreverence, all which are important concepts that apply to our creative practices. The night is our way our way to show resistance!
How did OTK2 come together? We started this collaboration back in the day when we met as bartenders in a now defunct downtown NYC sleaze bar. Since we were both artists it was only natural for us to incorporate our creativity into our nightlife. We’d go crazy and jump all over the bar, draw on the walls, draw on each other. The go-go dancers would get naked or only wear trash bags and dance with each other. [Gio] would sing, [Brian] would pole dance and we’d spank people for free Jagermeister shots. We made beautiful paddles that we covered in our drawings. Eventually word got out and our party became a hit. …
Two separate shows reflect on AIDS, community and compassion.
Downtown Manhattan in the latter part of the 20th century is something of lore if you grew up interested in the arts, alternative rock, counter-culture or battling corrupt government. Nan Goldin was no stranger to 1980s New York City’s dangerous and drug fueled streets. She moved to New York following her graduation from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1978 and quickly began photographing the burgeoning arts scene. Goldin befriended and photographed the many vibrant characters that populated the Bowery neighborhood. Among those documented in her work was Kathleen White.
In dual shows up at Pioneer Works, curator David Everitt Howe — along with White’s partner Rafael Sánchez — returns Spirits of Manhattan to the gallery setting in tandem with Nan Goldin: Kathleen, which features five portraits of White taken by Goldin in the 90s.
Spirits of Manhattan was first shown in 1999’s Shy, an exhibition curated by Goldin that featured works from some of those she was photographing at the time . In what Pioneer Works calls a “posthumous return to White’s work” (the artist lost her battle with cancer in 2014), the two separate but interconnected exhibitions revolve around the two artists; “formidable colleagues, they were mutually affected by the AIDS crisis then unfolding in the 1980s and 90s.”
Wig suitcase, c. 1990s, suitcase, wigs, dimensions variable.
Flloyd, 1991, wig hair, hair, watercolor, acrylic, glitter, pencil, and eye pencil on phone book page, dimensions variable. …