Tom of Finland Store presents an exploration of Los Angeles with photographs by Daniel Trese
The Tom of Finland Store is equal parts online boutique and gay art gallery. We’ve seen exhibitions of work by Bruce LaBruce (aptly titled Faggotry) and Jack Pierson (Tomorrow’s Man.) Now the ToF Store is presenting Daniel Trese: Surface Streets, a series of prints by photographer Daniel Trese. In over 200 photographs shot almost entirely on film, Trese documents the city of Los Angeles, its people and its ultra-contemporary ethos. From the city’s “sprawling strip malls, agave plants and massive boulevards,” to its young creative and queer scenes, he captures everything with a uniquely Californian wit. He photographs in both black-and-white and color, the latter showcasing the soft contrast and muted tones emblematic of Southern California.
The series was shot from from 2007 to 2018 as Trese worked for publications like Fantastic Man, Purple, Apartamento and Pin-Up. In addition to the city, he uses portraits to create a community of faces like Peggy Moffitt, Don Bachardy, A.L. Steiner, Ashland Mines, Karis Wilde, Joel Gibb, Sean Delear, and Mariah Garnett, mostly shot in stark black and white. All together the series is both a poignant examination of Los Angeles and a striking document of Trese’s own life, like a photographic memoir. It reads like a joint exploration of identity, personal and geographic.
A group exhibition in New York City
It has been too damn long since I’ve attended a Gio Black Peter show. The Violators is a group show featuring 15 artists from around the world, and Gio is, of course, one of them. But as I mentioned there is much more besides him. The opening reception, happening on Friday, July 27th, also features a live reading by Slava Mogutin, a performance by El Mira and at 10:00PM a video program featuring Bruce LaBruce’s “I know what it’s like to be dead,” Alex La Cruz’s “French Quarter May” and Gio Black Peter’s “Sushi.”
The show was inspired after a post of Gio’s was removed from Instagram (this happens a lot to him) with the familiar explanation: “We removed your post because it doesn’t follow our community guidelines. If you violate our guidelines again, your account may be restricted or disabled.” Gio says he wanted to “celebrate artists from my community” and give a platform to the images that were an expression of their lives. Images which were deemed “too offensive.” Inspired by the guerrilla artists from New York City’s 80’s downtown scene (David Wojnarowicz, Kenny Scharf, Diane Arbus and Jean-Michel Basquiat to name a few) the exhibition will take place in my show studio. In the words of of Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox “Sisters are doin it for themselves” Art in the real world might just be the last refuge of free expression.
The internet was meant to be that place, but when content is viewed primarily on the platforms of private companies (Facebook, Instagram) then freedom of expression will always be held hostage to the whims of reactionary CEOs and self-righteous mobs of snowflakes who can’t handle ideas that challenge their own narrow world views. …
You know how important AIDS art is to the gay community. David Wojnarowicz has finally received his due at a major American museum. Felix Gonzales-Torres was at Zwirner, but they didn’t talk about AIDS. There seems to be a constant struggle between AIDS and art. One doesn’t know what to do with the other. Art seemed to help convalesce all sorts AIDS patients before their eventual deaths. The plague killed off all sorts of creatives and left mounds of detritus in the arms of lovers, communities… institutions.
Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist, and for his latest show, he wanted to explore the nostalgia of the 70s. Pre-AIDS, post-war. Through re-photographing, fragmenting, obscuring, re-assembling, and re-contextualizing gay erotica from the time period, the artist set out to revitalize the irreverent innocence and naivety gay men were accustomed to before the plague attacked their livelihood. It is difficult not to place a devastation-lens atop works made during the epidemic, and it’s harder to stare into a frame of gay europhia without thinking “oh, they don’t know what is coming.” We’re a community still caught up in post-disaster. ‘After Silence’ organized by Nathan Storey Freeman at Stellar Projects hopes to consider the complex issues of our community with quiet meditations on various queer ephemera, identity and our evolving relationship to our colorful, taciturn past.
The exhibition is on view until July 27, 2018. Stellar Projects, 1 Rivington Street, NY, NY. …
At Hudson River Park, the memorial honors victims of prejudice.
Before President Obama left office, in late 2016, the U.S. National Park Service, under his administrative lead, honored the LGBTQ community by naming the Stonewall Inn a National Monument. This historic designation was a first of its kind. No other LGBTQ identifying space had ever been listed (let alone considered) on the National Monument register. To commemorate the Stonewall Riot’s 50th anniversary, and coming just two years after President Obama’s announcement, New York is unveiling a new LGBTQ monument. Designed by artist Anthony Goicolea, the memorial, located on Hudson River Park and was commissioned by New York State to honor the LGBTQ community — including those lost in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando — as well as all victims of hate, intolerance and violence.
The public monument encourages visitors to look beyond exteriors. Its large granite stones are constructed from bronze, with fragile glass creating strong unifying bonds. An inward-facing Audre Lorde quote is inscribed between the largest split stone, acting as the memorial’s inner voice. The proportion of the rocks and their circular arrangement creates a safe harbor that beckons visitors to rest upon the immovable stones. These markers become pedestals for the true monument: the community of differing people who sit, visit, commune, mourn, love and remember.
To learn more about the monument’s creation, I sent Anthony a few questions to hear more about his process in designing and what the historic-future of the space could look like.
You have cited historic structures such as Stonehenge & Easter Island as points of reference for the new monument — what is your hope for your own design and it’s own potential history? …
Scenes of the sexual, the social and the historic at this intimate exhibit.
As a newcomer to New York City I made my first trip to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho a couple of weeks ago. I arrived dazed and sticky, not yet used to the stifling midsummer heat or the Canal St. crowds. The museum, on the comparatively quiet corner of Wooster and Grand, felt like a place of refuge. I felt weary and immediately grateful as I walked in. Inside the museum is both stark and warm. With its soft lights and wood floors the gallery space cultivates a comfortable intimacy in its visitors. The same intimacy naturally carries through to the relationship between the visitors and the exhibitions, between the visitor and the art. As I explored OUT FOR THE CAMERA: The Self-Portraits of Leonard Fink, one of the two exhibits currently on view at the museum, the exchange between the space, the visitor and the artwork itself made itself clear.
During the seventies and early eighties Leonard Fink, a gay man, photographed New York City, paying particular attention the social and sexual lives of his fellow LGBTQ people. He captured the bar scene of the West Village and the annual Pride marches and the men cruising for sex on abandoned piers, documenting LGBTQ culture from the interior. During his lifetime Fink’s work was never recognized and today it remains mostly in obscurity despite its contemporary relevance. He, like other LGBTQ photographers such as Alvin Baltrop, Peter Hujar or Diana Davies have long been role models for aspiring photographers. …
João Gabriel's paintings deal with queer desire, loss and nostalgia.
If you’re in Mexico City, don’t miss the solo exhibition of queer Portuguese artist João Gabriel, A Permit For That Fire, curated by myself at Galeria Mascota, on view through July 21st.
Often departing from pre-AIDS, 1970s gay pornographic imagery, João’s paintings deal with desire, loss and nostalgia. Disinterested in the contemporary ideals of masculinity and their portrayals, João turned to vintage gay pornography as a source material to address the male form. His near-obsessive revisiting of the pre-AIDS era speaks to a notion of inherited trauma, and a desire to question the boundaries of joy, fear and sexuality in contemporary queer culture.
The paintings, erotic in nature, carry a certain understatement, a suggestive quality that goes beyond the act of representation. Eerie and faceless protagonists merge poetically with nature in João’s built environment, projecting cryptic though timeless scenes of fantasy and longing that may speak to a large subset of the queer experience.
A Permit For That Fire features a series of recent paintings on paper and large canvases, which shows different facets of the artist’s work. At once seedy and lyrical, the title — a reference to the opening line of vintage porn film Sailor In The Wild — is an ode to the unsteady potential of homoerotic narratives in painting today.
We wrote about this a few weeks ago because they had began a Kickstarter to get the proper funding in check. Well, I am happy to report they did and this week Liz Collin’s salon-style exhibition of over 95 queer artists will be on view at BGQSD. “Cast of Characters features a remarkable group of artists showing special works in a site-specific context. The show opens during PRIDE month and will be a grounding and celebratory site for folks to see a broad representation of LGBTQ creativity and life today in a context that queers a design strategy originated in traditional and formal domestic spaces.” The opening reception for the public is June 15, from 6:00PM-9:00PM.
Featuring artists GAYLETTER loves and supports, like Vincent Dilio, Doron Langberg, Zanele Muholi, Mickalene Thomas, Kia LaBeija, Troy Michie and more, the enormous group was cast to set the precedent for how large of a scale there is for queer representation in 2018. RSVP is required for the public opening — search on Facebook for event.
Below are a few images from the preview of the show:
Liz Collins (center), curator of the exhibition.
Free W/RSVP, 6:00PM-9:00PM, BGSQD at the Center, 208 W 13 St. NY, NY. …
A limited edition t-shirt by Jonathan Anderson benefiting Visual AIDS
Loewe just launched a limited edition series of t-shirts featuring works by the American artist and activist, David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992). All of the proceeds from the series are going to Visual AIDS, an organization which “preserves and promotes the work of HIV positive artists and assists artists living with HIV/AIDS.” Visual AIDS also works to raise awareness about AIDS and create a dialogue through visual art exhibitions and publications. Designed by Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson, the project serves to “foster awareness and honor Wojnarowicz as a courageous creator and activist.” The series features four of Wojnarowicz’s pieces printed on high-grade cotton crew necks.
Wojnarowicz became a protagonist of the local art scene in Manhattan’s East Village in 1978. Many of his works, both visual and literary, center on themes of ostracism and isolation drawn from his experience as a gay man. After being diagnosed with AIDS, Wojnarowicz’ art took on a vocal political stance and he produced some of the most important and challenging work around the AIDS crisis throughout the 1980s. His scathing honesty earned the ire of federal authorities, and his work continues to spark controversy and inspire in our own time of growing cultural divisions around critical social issues concerning freedom, justice and equality. In creating this series Jonathan Anderson seeks to honor Wojnarowicz’s legacy and, in keeping with the mission of Visual AIDS, maintain a dialogue about AIDS through art. The T-shirt project coincides with the Loewe Foundation’s exhibition of works by Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar, on view at the label’s Gran Via store in Madrid from June through late August. …