“Self Portrait” (1969/70) | Photography by Steven Arnold

Watch the film – Steven Arnold: Heavenly Bodies for Free this weekend only

Art has the capacity to balance seemingly incompatible qualities — self-expression and communal tribute, tangible materiality and metaphysical essence, fading ephemerality and boundless eternity. American artist Steven Arnold (1943­-1994) embodied these dualities, proving that the dark shadow of death cannot exist without the shining light of life. His enduring legacy is memorialized in an upcoming exhibit at New York’s International Center of Photography and a new documentary Steven Arnold: Heavenly Bodies.


When Arnold died in 1994 amid the AIDS crisis, he left behind a vast body of work. During his life, he fluttered between different modes of art-making —  painting, drawing, sculpture, film, photography, fashion, and set design. A pioneer of cultural revolution, Arnold was at the forefront of counter-culture in the ’60s, but meandering through different eras with an indulgent grace, he defied limiting himself to one genre or style. In the ’70s, he was a dashing surrealist; in the ’80s, a mystical revisionist historian. Today, he’s often remembered for his role in launching the gender-bending performance troupe the Cockettes and for studying under Salvador Dalí as his protégé.


This weekend is your chance to watch Steven Arnold: Heavenly Bodies for free. Steven’s steadfast commitment to creativity and personal expression in the face of great physical decline, and ostracization from many of his ‘friends,’ due to his AIDS diagnosis, is truly inspiring. Click here to watch the documentary for FREE, this weekend only



To see the feature printed in GAYLETTER Issue 11, click here.


To get a copy of GAYLETTER Issue 11 – limited edition cover by Steven Arnold, click here.