It's that annual event that gets all the hipsters out with their tote bags in tow displaying their literacy up and down the halls of PS1: Printed Matter's NY Art Book Fair — or as one instagrammer called it "The Olympics of Art Book Fairs". The analogy is not completely unfounded as it often feels like you've been worked out by the time you get through the fair. Words, Words, Words (and some shapes too!) are omnipresent throughout the museum and usually the creators are on hand for a lively chat. Every year I bolster myself for the fair and try to engage with as much work as I can. It can be hard, but I usually leave with some nuggets of inspiration. Below are some highlights from the outing. Apologies to all the makers who I have failed to accredit!
Loved these works by Jonathan Monk. To execute these pieces he screened iconic graphics by Sol LeWitt onto waxed African fabrics. Appropriation was the theme and Darlene from Three Star Books appreciated my own sartorial appropriation. I was wearing a counterfeit Louis Vuitton outfit that I had custom made for me in The Philippines. Sampladelic!
The self-proclaimed "reluctant anthropologist" Mordechai Rubinstein (aka mistermort) also took interest in my look and posted a pic of my behind on his instagram with the clever caption "fake news?". I was flattered to be on his page, but what really sent me over the moon were the comments. I have included a screenshot of my fave. And here I was thinkin' I was fooling people.
Get literate with me on my Instagram. See you there!
While in Dublin last week I stopped by The Irish Museum of Modern Art, or IMMA, to take in a spectacular show of Lucian Freud's portraits. Given its location in Ireland, the show made clear Freud's ties to the Irish and the intense relationship he forged with his sitters. "Two Irish Men in W11" was a standout in the show for it displayed succinctly Freud's ability to penetrate his sitters' psyche and simultaneously lends itself to a queer reading.
The man and the boy are father and son in the portrait. A more queer interpretation can signal daddy and boy / dom and sub / top and bottom. Whether this reading suits your lens, Freud's technique of painting the flesh is indisputable. With Freud the body is constantly in movement and his brushwork gives takes the eye on a journey across the subjects' physicality. Male hands in Freud's work are exaggerated ostensibly which gives an ultra masc authority to the father figure.
A great collection, see "The Freud Project" if you're in Dublin.
Growing up a queer boy in the 80's I tried to blend in. I did "boy" things. I had an extensive GI Joe collection; video games were my sibling surrogates; I even played catcher on the school softball team (insert joke here). But the aspect of "boydom" that I really latched onto was the phenomenon known as Star Wars. On a conscious level, I was drawn to the drama and the spectacle, but on a subconscious level Star Wars intrigued me in a multitude of ways that still work on my imagination today. It had all the butch qualities that a sexually confused adolescent could ever want: a shoot-em-up space cowboy, a sassy damsel in distress, a handsome blonde, daddy issues, you name it — it had it. Star Wars was my childhood beard, and I loved it.
By the time I was a gay teen and comfortable with my sexuality, I had become attached to these characters and stories. The concept of inventing oneself and building a fantasy that is inherent in the franchise parallels my own coming-of-age story, and therefore it had embedded itself into my character powerfully.
As a grown up, proud homo, Han, Leia, Luke and all they represent have found their way into my art. These heroes have now melded in my mind with my "Femme" interests, primarily fashion. Galaxies have collided and the sassy damsel is now Anna Wintour. Greedo is a high fashion model for Prada; Jabba for Yohji Yamamoto; Bill Cunningham is shooting a stylish ewok. Part parody, part satire, the collection of watercolors below represent taking my boy identity and queering him up. PEW PEW POOF!
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