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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Iris Apfel is a style genius. Her prowess has exhibited itself many times over in the various incarnations of her creative life, from interior designer to HSN darling to the "world's oldest living teenager" — Apfel's penchant to tickle our retinas never fails. It was this lust for life that I drew upon when I created a necklace portrait this larger-than-life personality.
Since I knew that her glasses would be paramount in her recognizability, I started there in my process. Once I was confident that I got the shape right, I proceeded to build out the rest of her face and hair.
As with most large scale pieces, melding the beads took time and patience, something that I had little of since I knew that I would be presenting this to Iris later that day at a screening of her eponymous biopic IRIS. After a little stuggle and alot of deep breaths it all came together.
When it finally came time to show Iris the work, I was excited and hopeful that she would like it.
She did like it and put it on immediately. She even left it on for the duration of the screening!
In the end seeing Iris with "Iris" made my day, and I think hers too.
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“Among Friends” is the title of the Robert Rauschenberg retrospective currently on exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. For me this title could not be more apt since going to the show really felt like a homecoming in sense.
Rauschenberg’s work captured my imagination in a powerful way when I was in art school and experimenting with a variety of media. Visiting this show was like visiting an old mentor who I first encountered at his retrospective at The Guggenheim Museum in the 1997. Twenty years later, my perspective has grown, but the impact of his advances remains evident. Indeed, his incorporation of mundane and non-traditional materials in his work left an imprint in my own thinking and process to this day. Seeing these works again in a retrospective format was a much a journey through time for the artist as it was for myself, the viewer.
A work that I encountered for the first time was the “Hiccups” series. Very graphic and innovative (each panel is connected to its accompanying artwork using zippers), this piece wound up being my favorite in the show. I recommend checking it out for yourself.
Who’s your Daddy?!? I had several of them growing up. Some of them had other kids, some of them didn’t; some adopted, some did it au naturale. Whatever the case, these daddies provided me with the guidance and counsel that every young pup is looking for in a father figure. And like a good boy, I visited them regularly at their respective home networks. I was always good to them, as they were to me. Looking back at pictures, I am reminded of all the good times we had together — me and my daddies. Not to despair, though. They are forever immortalized on Hulu, or YouTube, or Netflix… Miss you daddies! XO – Boy.
Last weekend, while visiting friends in D.C., I got a chance to check out the Hirshhorn Museum for the first time. The collection, curation, and exhibitions were all impressive, but perhaps one of the most striking sights was the collection of Lego portraits that were part of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a collection of portraits of political dissidents, prisoners of conscience, activists, and advocates of free speech — all executed with Legos. The portraits each took on their own color scheme with the palette used for each person loosely derived from the flag of their home country. Moreover, the pixelated quality of the image speaks to the digital surveillance that is ubiquitous in today’s society (a theme the artist himself is familiar with given the constant surveillance under which he lived thanks to the Chinese government’s repeated attempts to silence him). Over 1.2 million Legos were used to fabricate the entire work, with each portrait averaging a few thousand pieces.
Ai Weiwei describes his subjects as his heroes and says that his usage of Legos speaks to his desire to work in a language that is fresh and understood easily by all people. I can see Ai Weiwei thinking and seeing his son’s Lego constructions and plotting out his plan. There is definitely a “Wow” factor that he is aiming for with his choice of medium. The effect is quite graphic and riffs off of political posters, Warhol portraits, T-shirt graphics, and, of course, childhood itself.
Bearing a visual similarity to my own work, I have an idea of how these pieces were executed and the copious amounts of time invested into each panel. It was inspiring to see such a broad body of work created with Lego. If you get the chance, go check it out.
9 Reasons Jabba reigns supreme over The Bears
1. He’s soft and squishy, like a bear, but there’s none of the hair to clean out of the shower drain.
2. When you go to "Hutt Week", you don’t need to worry about lodging as his gut is ripe for slumber.
3. Internal C-Pap
4. No one fucks with you because they know that the Lord of the Galactical Underground has got your back. (WHERE THE RANCOR AT?!?!)
5. HUTTr > GROWLr
6. Yeah Burt Reynold’s was an Amazing centerfold model in ‘72, but I don’t hear of any sequels (or prequels for that matter!!!) to “Cannonball Run” coming out soon. #noshade
7. It never rains on Tatooine.
8. He believes in inter-species mingling and surrounds himself with a variety of samples.
9. Two Words: Outer Rim
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…and so does James Franco. Or so it seems from his choice to make King Cobra, about the rise of porn ingénue Brent Corrigan and the murder that resulted after two wannabe producers tried to get in on the action. The film was bold and graphic, creepy and haunting. Similar to the way Boogie Nights painted a picture of a family cobbled together from different walks of life, King Cobra depicts characters seeking to re-create relationships from their past. In this way it becomes a story of how we are all looking for that perfect relationship, that easy road to stardom, that one true love. It just happens to be set against the backdrop of the titillating world of pornography and topped off with a gruesome murder. Ultimately there are things more important than sex. You just have to cum and get them.
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Have you ever bought an album just because of the cover art? I have. I remember buying Björk's Post simply for its visual appeal, without ever having heard the music itself. As a trained graphic designer, album covers have always spoken to me in a powerful way. When done right an album cover can be a poetic distillation of a piece of music, a mood, a moment in one's life.
When I began The Album Project, I selected albums from my youth that left a profound imprint on my psyche: Deee-Lite's "World Clique", A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory", Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", and Madonna's "Erotica" for starters. The project has since grown and I have been commissioned to interpret album art that has been impactful on others.
My goal is to create enough of a likeness so that the viewer could recognize the album, yet have it also be abstract enough so they could fill in the blanks, akin to how our real memory works. My use of fusible beads affords me the opportunity to abstract an image, to employ abstraction's capability to engage viewers in a manner that is layered, cryptic, and ultimately emotional.
Above: "The Velvet Underground and Nico", Fusible Beads, 5.25" x 5.25", 2012
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