GAYLETTERGAYLETTER

Monday 11.11.19

Aaron Michael Skolnick – Your Voice Lying Gently In My Ear – Institute 193

Institute 193 features artists from the Southeastern United States, celebrating creatives from the ‘fly-over’ areas and the unique richness of their production. Their latest exhibition presents a grouping of paintings by Aaron Michael Skolnick, born and raised in Kentucky, and recently relocated in Hudson, New York. Before his move, he spent years taking care of his late husband, who was taken by complications related to the diagnosis of ALS. Their life together changed under the terms of the illness — looming frustration, selfless patience, and a delicate intimacy became their reality. The abundance of paintings he made during this period reflect this state of being, serving as a kinky film score, a gentle love song, and a requiem all at once. Two years have passed and Skolnick has moved into a new chapter in Hudson, painting more recent lovers with a fresh intensity but without forgetting his harrowing and tender memories.

 

The paintings are mainly articulated in pastel hues; strokes and smudges are turned into smart details. His compositions are focused on scruffy bodies in repose, with seldom a background apart from a soft pillow. Sex acts become gestures of affection rather than carnal transactions, erotic but contemplative. Time is slowed down in the painted scenes, turned into a distant dream of golden light and soul connection. Apart from the portraits, Skolnick also paints still lives: bedside vases of flowers. The age-old trope of cut flowers is framed by the context of the other sensual paintings, a symbol for inevitable decay and fading beauty that must be enjoyed in the moment or memorialized in art. …

Sunday 11.10.19

Benjamin Fredrickson’s opening reception at Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Monday 11.04.19

Benjamin Fredrickson – Photographs – Daniel Cooney Fine Art

opens on November 7, 2019

In anticipation of Benjamin Fredrickson’s upcoming exhibition in New York, we asked him a few questions about his gorgeous subjects, his photographic process, and the evolution of categorizing nude portraiture.

 

Do you get to know your models before photographing them? How many of them are your friends or lovers? Some of them are friends, and some of them are people that were found through social media. I’m fascinated how social media has reshaped the way in which artists can source subjects. There are even people that “collect” artists/photographers for their online respective portfolios, collecting likes and validation. I love it. Before I.G. existed I would source people from Craigslist, Manhunt, and Adam4Adam.

 

In your self-portraits, your penis is erect. Is it the act of modeling, of exhibitionism, that gets you in the mood, or do you think about something or someone to turn yourself on? I’m an exhibitionist, I love showing off. I’m also a bit self-conscious when it comes to looking at myself nude without an erection. I prefer to pose in self-portraits with an erection. I love when there is someone else in the room that turns me on when I’m making self-portraits. A lot of the time, I’m by myself and thinking about someone who I’ve photographed or had an intimate encounter with. It can change with the situation. I was in Paris last summer and staying in an Airbnb and there was this frosted window in the hallway, and I just knew that I needed to make a self-portrait sitting in that window sill. …

Friday 11.01.19

Photographer Oliver Mint in Bogota

Mint introduces us to some young, queer beauties in the Colombian city described by his crush as a 'big gay Latin American Berlin.'

The photographer Oliver Mint ended up in Bogota because of a crush — Daniel, a Colombian boy he met in NYC about 4 years ago during his trip to the city. Daniel described the city of Bogota as “a big gay Latin American Berlin,” since that moment Oliver wanted to visit and possibly find him again… He planned to visit Bogota for a month and ended up staying for six months. He told us that he fell in love with everything and everyone. I think Oliver really enjoyed his time there.

 

Oliver knew that he wanted to do a project in Colombia with queer people, but he wasn’t as keen to reach out to anyone until he visited Manuela Pizzarro’s studio back in July. “She is a costume designer from Bogota and at the time she was selling off all of her archive — racks and racks of about 200+ pieces of clothing because she was moving to Mexico City.” The concept for this shoot came about after spending the afternoon shopping in her airy colonial style studio, he knew he had to shoot everyone in that space with her clothes before she moved.

 

Manuela is also part of the cast of people that he photographed for this series. “I cast this group of people because there was something about each one of them that felt cool/interesting to me. Also, maybe I subconsciously connected with the way they presented themselves on social media. They are a mix of artists, drag performers, models, writers, singers, students, activists etc., but most importantly they are all queer as hell!”

 

 

Will is a 24 year-old fashion designer who was born and raised in Bogota. …

Tuesday 10.15.19

Tom of Finland Art Festival 2019

Queer attendees enjoy the 24th annual event at the Tom of Finland Foundation

Friday 10.11.19

TM Davy – This Marram – Van Doren Waxter

As cool air begins to blow through New York, Van Doren Waxter gallery reminds us of summer bliss, presenting This Marram, a show of TM Davy’s new painting/drawings of friends enjoying the Pines of Fire Island. It is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, this time featuring landscapes, portraiture, and the genre in between: people interacting with the delightful environment that surrounds them. Davy explains, “Every show I make is a personal meditation on love and life. The intimacies of my oil paintings have often developed through an intentional layering of time in my studio and home in Bushwick. But summer has a different feeling of time for me, not more or less intimate. Easier, perhaps, in the way that life and friendships flow more naturally and quickly across a beach and to a sunset. I found a way of making while I sit freely in the happening of that time and place, so the summer and the work could become one experience.”

 

All works in the exhibition are 14 by 11 inches — a portable size, easily taken to the site of inspiration, allowing Davy to observe and articulate various decisive moments ‘en plein air,’ subtly detailed with a flourish of gouache or oil pastel. His art may be understood as elaborating on the historical movements of Impressionism and Expressionism, taking the styles to a new height with hints of neon tonality and gestural, abstracted compositions of thick grass, textured clouds, and splashy tides. Arranged in the gallery space side-by-side, without frames, the collection is displayed sequentially. …

Monday 09.30.19

Rebecca Ness – Twice Over – 1969 Gallery

In keeping with the current movement of painters queering the genre of portrait painting, 1969 Gallery in the Lower East Side presents Twice Over, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Rebecca Ness. Having completed a graduate degree in painting and printmaking from Yale of School of Art this year, Ness is adept at both articulating the human body and developing conceptual motifs. While the work has an academic rigor, it also has an effortless quality as it captures scenes of comfortable domesticity. The subjects of her paintings often demonstrate the power of relationships and the dynamic of micro versus macro, the smaller parts constituting the larger whole.

 

“Closet” (2019) shows a figure standing with their hands on their hips, their head cropped out of the frame. A mirror reflects the colorful interior of the closet, the racks of clothing forming a varicolored rainbow. The figure appears in motion as they try on a leafy green and white bottom to match a red, checkered sweater. The phenomena of mirroring in this work may serve as metaphor for the queer couple, building their own identities loosely and in relationship to each other, one of Ness’ overarching themes. Often, lovers wear each other’s clothing, borrowing from their companion’s wardrobe, adopting and imparting their sense of style. This may be particularly more common in couples that share the same gender. In other paintings, like “Sunday” (2019) and “Kiss” (2019), the artist and her partner are shown anonymously, their heads cropped out in focused compositions of bodies wearing colorful clothing and sneakers. …

Thursday 08.08.19

Alvin Baltrop’s days on the piers

Born in the Bronx, the Black photographer Alvin Baltrop spent the bulk of his life in New York, but from 1969 to 1972, he and a lot of young men were at war in Vietnam. It was there he first picked up a camera, photographing his Navy comrades. His time overseas inspired him to enroll at the School of Visual Arts upon his return home to New York. After finishing his studies, Baltrop turned his lens to the West Side of Manhattan and the decaying piers jutting into the putrid Hudson River, where, camera in hand, he captured men among the heaps of wood and metal. They came for sex, drugs and suicide, many of them knowingly or unknowingly crossing paths with Baltrop. His invasive yet understanding portraits make up Alvin Baltrop: The Piers, a fascinating document of the era between the Stonewall riots and the AIDS crisis.

 

Though they may have seemed like outsiders to the bigger world, the men who frequented these rundown piers were part of a larger community, one to which Baltrop also subscribed. After all, sodomy laws were still in effect in 1970s New York, which led to the piers turning into a gathering place as well as an escape.

 

“The waterfront had turned into another kind of cruising area, with men looking for other men, likely strangers, to satisfy their forbidden and illegal desires,” Glenn O’Brien writes in the book’s foreword. “The men you see in these pictures were outlaws.”

 

Baltrop — who claimed to be attracted to men and women but was regarded as gay by his peers — was friendly with many of his subjects, so it’s no surprise the photographs are deeply personal. …

Monday 08.05.19

BOFFO Fire Island Performance Festival 2019

Dancing in the Face of Adversity with Young Boy Dancing Group, Richard Kennedy, SPIT! (Sodomites, Perverts, Inverts Together!), Ryan McNamara, Papi Juice, Bichon, ELSZ, West Dakota, Kia Damon, Sebastian Hernández and many more

Monday 07.29.19

“THEM”— gallery exhibition

There is no need for hiding in the new era of queer painting.

At Perrotin on the Lower East Side, a new survey of contemporary, figurative painting exhibits the many ways queer people address each other and the spaces we inhabit. From the looks of these paintings, queer people are safe to have sex, safe to display their bodies and safe to love openly. We have lives, not just lovers. Aptly titled “Them,” the 13 artists represented are from around the globe and speak to different walks of today’s queer walks of life. And the scenes in apartments, in bars, getting a haircut, at the beach, or in close embrace, are rather pedestrian. These subjects — equal parts fantastical and romantic — appear to be at peace occupying public space.

 

While the history of painting has long recognized queer behaviours in codified canvases, “Them” looks to infuse art history with a group of painters and paintings that are uninhibited by their queerness. What was previously a contextual restraint is now an opportunity to aggrandize the subject of queer life.

 

Before the late 1970s, and then the onslaught of AIDS, gay and lesbian painters were not explicit narrators. Queer culture could be alluded to on a canvas, but not shown. 1934’s “Greenwich Village Cafeteria” by Paul Cadmus offers a crowded parlor with all sorts of patrons, including gay men. In the right corner of the canvas, a man with red nails is on his way to the toilets. This styling, only feminine at the time, served as context to the cafeteria, providing familiarity for those that subscribed to such a “delinquent” lifestyle. …

Tuesday 07.23.19

PHotoESPAÑA 2019: Hervé Guibert presented by LOEWE

The photographs of the writer-photographer are now on view at the Spanish festival

In an essay, the late french writer, photographer, and filmmaker Hervé Guibert described photographs as invitations. A photograph, Guibert believed, compels the viewer to create a unique, intimate version of an image in their mind’s eye. This personal replica draws them in- engaging them with the artist’s experience and voice. This philosophy is evident in Guibert’s work; black and white images of lovers, friends, and family in repose draw the viewer into Guibert’s universe, enticing them to experience the moments that he curated.

 

Though Guibert is largely unknown at the moment, his work was widely celebrated during the time of its production. After a brief career as a filmmaker and actor, Guibert spent most of his career as a writer and photographer, initially gaining recognition through authoring a column for the French newspaper Le Monde from 1978-1985 and going on to publish more than 20 books and numerous essays. Towards the end of his life, however, he returned to filmmaking with the documentary La Pudeur ou l’Impudeur, through which he directed his considerable following to engage with his daily experiences as a man dying of AIDS.

 

LOEWE is proud to contribute Guibert’s works to PHotoESPAÑA 2019, a Madrid-based photography festival that is currently in its ninth year. The festival will span several museums and galleries in an effort to highlight contemporary accomplishments in photography and celebrate significant past works. Through this contribution and in other initiatives, LOEWE aims to raise awareness around instances of suppression and marginalisation. Particularly in the current moment —  in which advanced societies are regressing towards bigotry — their work is sharply relevant. …

Friday 07.19.19

Rick Castro: Glory Hole

Special edition prints exclusively available on the Tom of Finland Store

Though his illustrious career has spanned more than 30 years and seen a mastery of multiple disciplines, Rick Castro hasn’t become an inch less daring. In discussion of his latest online exhibition for the Tom of Finland Store, RICK CASTRO: GLORY HOLE, Castro exclaimed: “FUCK CENSORSHIP!” This online exhibition features a curated collection of outtakes from Castro’s prolific career in kink photography — needless to say, his work is not in Instagram’s good graces. Castro correctly understands the term ‘fetish’ to be broad. More or less consciously, our fetishistic desires extend past ball gags and rope and manifest through fixation on particular objects, clothes, and body parts. That’s not to say that Castro’s work ignores ball gags and rope; a quick glance at his exhibition will prove the contrary. Subjects in this collection include desert bikers, intimate BDSM scenes, outtakes from commissioned fashion shoots, and more. All photos featured in the exhibition will also be available exclusively through the Tom of Finland Store as signed, limited edition prints through the show’s conclusion in September 2019.

 

In this particular exhibition, the subjects range from crouching, tanned, dirty blonde surfers whose jocks peek from their swim trunks, to ball gagged and hogtied muscle men on nondescript beds. Having famously documented Furry culture for MTV in 2001, it’s perhaps unsurprising that animal regalia is a recurring theme throughout the exhibition as well. In one photo, a towering man wearing a gorilla costume fireman-carries a naked, jock-strapped man towards the viewer, ass first. Note: if you’re planning on breaking into the Gorilla enclosure, be sure to wear more than just a jock strap — you mustn’t tempt them. …