Throughout moments in history, queer individuals have been demonized by “straight society” for their basic nature which often results in aggression, banishment, ostracization, trauma, and even death. Treated as “others” (or more directly, “monsters”) queer persons were often forced to shadowed corners, coded language, complex disguises and could only be truly themselves under the cover of darkness. With that in mind, it is no wonder that often there’s a distinct correlation between horror and queerness.
Members of the queer community have found reflections in themselves in the monsters of horror lore – the vampire, the lycanthrope, the succubus and so on. The horror genre frequently holds a mirror to the repressed fears in society - fear of the unusual, the strange, the peculiar – anything outside what has been deemed proper and safe. “The reason queer people have latched onto these monsters is because we see in them that society is always trying to eradicate us, and we are always waiting to fight back.” - Emily St. James, critic/journalist.
On the flip side of the horror coin, many queers see themselves in what has been coined the “final girl” or more recently, “final boy”: the ultimate survivor who overcomes all the obstacles presented before them. They might be battered and bloodied, but they survive to fight another day.
Horror mirrors society’s deepest dread and often draws attention to who or what should be feared. Repeatedly a target for scoring cheap political points, members of the LGBTQIA+ are often served up as monsters or something to dehumanize - a cycle that repeats time and time again as queers are served up as red meat to a scared political base who are frightened of what they are unfamiliar with. However, the real monsters are those who deliberately cause harm with a sense of impunity. Nonetheless the queer community continues to fight back and thrive under the weight of horror fictions placed onto them. Survivors of real horrors including AIDS and fag-bashings and a loss of generational knowledge and a community of those departed, queer persons continues to make roads into the same society which would prefer these monsters did not exist.
The artists include: Robert Hickerson, Michael-Birch Pierce, Daniel Samaniego, Richard Stauffacher
SPRING/BREAK Art Show
September 6-11, 2023
(image: Robert Hickerson, Death, 2019, archival pigment print)
SWOLE, a solo presentation of drawings by Elliot Purse, is a companion curatorial project to MASSIVE. This exhibition continues the exploration of pushing the limits of the human body by building massive muscles through exercise, performance-enhancing drugs and discipline.
Elliot Purse's drawings are appropriated from the entertainment of his adolenscence: guady male pro-wrestlers and sinewy, chiseled bodybuilders. This glaring array of characters are often depicted partially or with truncated limbs, reminiscent of his experience viewing Grego-Roman statuary. By scaling up their bodies to monumental proportions, their visual weight imposes a dark (sometimes humorous) presence of theatriical excess, performed power, and testosterone overload.
SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Los Angeles
February 15-19, 2023
(image: Elliot Purse, Captain, 2018, charcoal, paste, gouache on paper)
I want muscles
All, all over his body
(Make him strong enough from his head down to his toes) – Diana Ross
From Sandow to Schwarzenegger, the pursuit of building one body to stand out among mere mortals continues to grow in popularity and desire. Long removed from bodybuilding’s humble beginnings of the stone-lifting traditions of ancient Egypt, Greece and Tamilakam, these modern-day herculean behemoths push the limits of the human body by building massive muscles through exercise, performance-enhancing drugs and discipline.
The pursuit of the perfect physique continues to grow in popularity with more Hollywood actors pumping iron to obtain superhero proportions and the influx of fitness social media posts. But the bodybuilder is a different beast altogether; the countless hours in the gym – rep after rep, the supplements and enhancements, and the dedication to a strict diet to achieve maximum muscular definition and vascularity. The bodybuilder transcends the common man, constantly pushing for more mass, more muscle, more perfection. Building beyond what the average person would consider normal, these titans continue to push the limits of the human body with size, definition and dedication. There is plenty of beauty to be found in the sinew, brawn, might and muscle of these beast forged from their iron castles.
The artists include: Brian Finke, Wednesday Kim, Aaron Krach, Elliot Purse
SPRING/BREAK Art Show (625 Madison Avenue, Room #1005)
September 7-12, 2022
(image: Brian Finke, Untitled (Bodybuilding no. 73), 2005, chromogenic print.)
Laura Murray is a mixed-media artist who creates highly-textured, 3-dimensional paintings that explore intersections between science, art, and urbanism. Her work investigates concepts related to the Anthropocene - the scientific term for our current geological era which identifies human activity as the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Though the subjects of these artworks are typically animals, they also serve as portraits of humanity by exposing the remnants or “footprints”of human inhabitants. As the title of the show suggests, “Watch Your Step” is a direct reference to the microcosm of activity that exists beneath our feet, even in the most urban of settings.
Murray treats each painting as an object, paying attention to the top, bottom, and sides of each piece. Some elements of the artworks are hand-crafted and meticulously rendered in order to appear real; other elements of the artworks are pieces of litter that Murray collects to use as material. Through playful and inventive experimentation with non-traditional materials, Murray creates emotionally- charged artworks that demonstrate precarious interactions between the natural and non-natural worlds.
HERE Art Center (145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY)
(image: Laura Murray, Gertie, 2020, acrylic, polymer clay, dirt, rocks, hay, glass, bottle caps, Cicada exoskeleton, wood panel.)
“SPACELAND” explores our relationship to the spaces that we occupy and the energy that we bring to those places, even when we aren’t present. These constructed structures hold a sense of a collected history and evolution of memories felt even when barren.
Brooke DiDonato’s video “Home Sweet Home” blurs the boundaries of fiction by fusing a real life narrative with surreal, dreamlike elements. The dichotomy of life in suburbia isn’t as idealistic as it once appears.
With his series “Stages of Fallout”, Adam Liam Rose presents drawings that explore the violence and vulnerability of structures built for safety. These ghostlike graphite drawings devoid of the persons built to protect are punctuated by crumbling structures and an eerie silence infusing contradicting feelings of both safety and horror.
The photographic and animated works of Kate Stone employ collage techniques and miniature sets to blur the line between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, creating distorted interiors. “My work imagines the language of architecture, how it speaks and what it says, especially when we are not around to hear it.” Stone uses tropes of ghost stories and American suburban horror as stand-ins for the anxiety that current world events bring into our personal lives and private spaces.
Ethan Shoshan’s series “Signs” present both public and private spaces in various states of gentrification over a 15-year span. Paying attention to the signs, the juxtaposition of context, abandoned storefronts and scaffolding present the emblematic of instabilities going on right in front of everyone daily. The drawings are a meditative way of seeing and being present and capture private fleeting moments that make New York City special.
January 20 - March 13, 2022
HERE Art Center (145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY)
(image: Kate Stone, Outside Over There, 2018, framed archival pigment print, drywall, wood, inkjet prints, acrylic paint)
The Nature of Things explores the reaction to man's continued influence and preceived dominance over the natural world. In a time when humans were forces to re-examine and contemplate their significance over their actions, nature both offered a respite and showcased its true sovereignty over human kind. Our relationship to the natural world should perhaps be the most important relationship we have. Inactivity in the face of climate change, mass extinctions, global pandemics and food and water shortages must all be taken very seriously in this time and age. If not for our own benefit, then for that of future generations.
The artists include: Theodora Elizer, Becca Guzzo, Sohee Kim, Emily Klass, Sarah Martin-Nuss, Eugenia So, Zhao Zhang
September 30 - October 15, 2021
SVA Flatiron Gallery (133/141 West 21 Street, New York, NY)
(image: Theodora Elizer, White Oyster, 2019, vintage soft toy bear, Pleurotus Ostreatus mushrooms,.)
I’m a pleasure seeker. I crave the energy of those who indulge their appetites and I’m drawn to those who live their lives free and unrestricted. The never ending principal of more is more. More sex, more drugs, more parties, more unabashedly themselves. The freedom of feeding into a system of carnal delights.
Faced with a bombardment of bad news constantly, one tends to look for a way to escape worry and pain, hence the birth of a pleasure seeker. Hunting out hedonistic desires –sexual freedom, drugs, alcohol and the pursuit of free love – allows one to enjoy life and rediscover hope. The artists participating in “Gimme Gimme, Gimme More,” both highlight the allure of consumption and the pursuit of happiness, beauty, love and the truth.
The ceramic lovers of Colin J. Radcliffe chronicle his successes and failures in love. While deceptively playful, the figurative and intimately scaled ceramics explore his ambivalence in love and the dynamics of queer relationships today. Each sculpture is a personal memory, an ode to a romantic or sexual partner and our connection to one another (or lack thereof). Infatuation, humor, and playfulness simultaneously spur the making of each piece alongside loneliness, disdain, and lewdness.
Emily Silver makes paintings that highlight her fascination with overindulgence, comedy and tragedy. She looks to social media, funerals, parties, parades, and carnivals, in their finite nature, for the work to be actively a part of these sensual celebratory spaces. Whether that be parties that have gone tragically wrong, or presenting the colorful personalities she has met in the desert of Yucca Valley. The frenetic energy of her work, continue to push the boundaries of how much one painting can feature how things can go south quickly, but how much fun that truly can be.
With this exhibition, I’m highlight these modern day bohemians. My tribe, who continue to inspire and motivate me to enjoy my life more.
March 3-9, 2020
SPRING/BREAK Art Show (635 Madison Avenue, Room #1168)
(image: Colin J. Radcliffe, Two-Hander, 2020, ceramics and glaze)
The artists included: Gavin Benjamin, Nicole Goodwin, Anders Jones, Zoey Martinson, Kip Omolade and Dana Robinson.
November 27, 2019 - January 18, 2020
HERE Art Center (145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY)
(image: Gavin Benjamin, Heads of States #4, 2019, Epson Exhibition canvas, Moab Fine Art Paper, Diamond dust, Swarovski crystals and lacquers.)
Abstracting the colonial windows of his native Colombia, artist Pedro Mesa tackles the notion of identity-pastiche, both nationally as well as personally. With his constructions, he is addressing the windows with their bright hues and distinctive shapes, which are not idiosyncratic in their originality, but a derivation or emulation of Spanish architecture and the combination of styles found in the balconies and windows found all over the Mediterranean. There’s a crisis here – a crisis in the very notion of the colonized subject. The colonized can only be that, inasmuch they can recognize their colonizer.
“The snobbism of my generation, the constant hounding for first-world entertainment over our local culture, the desire to belong to another community outside of ours,” says Mesa, “A hapless parallel with the stories behind these windows – there’s no Spanish ‘illustrious ancestor’ to be found, but a recycling of ideas of national unity and periphery.” Confronted with these windows as a mask, a colorful distraction, they open up to a vagueness of Mesa’s place in the world.
“What I ask of myself is to just look through the railings: into a gnawed interior made up by shadows, husked walls that every night put their make-up on and walk the city to sell themselves. Falsehoods that leave no room for the intimate; whiny colors that fake a feast where no music is playing.” says Mesa, “There’s a sadness to my country. A feeling of sterility, of lost opportunities and opportunities dead. Not of albatross, but of limping sparrows and blind condors. A country where a seagull will eat a drowning moth.”
September 5 - October 19, 2019
HERE Art Center (145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY)
(image: Limping Sparrows, 2016, acrylic polymer on wood)
HEREArts proudly presents Queer as I at HERE Art Center (145 Sixth Avenue) from May 2 – June 30, 2019, Tuesdays through Friday, 2 – 7pm. Weekend visits available upon request.
The exhibition is comprised of 50 self-portraits from different artists, one portrait for each year since the Stonewall riots. The exhibition will highlight the power and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community and shine a light on their visibility.
“On the eve of the Stonewall riot’s 50th anniversary, queer visibility has never been more important,” say curator Dan Halm, “From the time the first brick thrown on that fateful night in Greenwich Village, the fight for equality continues. Being unabashedly out and proud is still a radical idea to some people. But it is those unapologetically queer individuals brave enough to be themselves, who have made society more accepting of the queer community at large.”
The artists in this exhibition offer a glimpse into their lives, their loves, and the power of just living their authentic selves. The work features an array of photographs, paintings, sculptures and mixed media portraits. “What I love about this grouping of 50 artists is how diverse they are; whether that be where they are in their career, their age, their experience or geographical location,” says Halm, “It’s a beautiful mix of artists who inspire me and speak of the queer experience authentically.”
The artists included: Jonathan Kent Adams, Marc Adelman, Mickey Aloisio, John Arsenault, Alexander Asbell, Jonathon Beaver, Matthew Bede Murphy, Chris Berntsen, Justin Vivian Bond, Vivian Chiu, Greg Climer, Andrew Criss, TM Davy, LaQuann Dawson, Shari Diamond, John Dugdale, Leah DeVun, James Falciano, Nadine Faraj, Joe Hepworth, Hannah Hiaasen, Logan Jackson, Mia Krys, Scooter LaForge, Zachari Logan, Emily Lombardo, Peter Macaulay, John MacConnell, KC Crow Maddux, Sean Basil McGiver, Patrick McNabb, Daniel Morowitz, Cobi Moules, Ruben Natal-San Miguel, Catherine Opie, Stiofan O'Ceallaigh, Cupid Ojala, Matthew Papa, Hermes Payrhuber, Michael-Birch Pierce, Jack Pierson, Antonio Pulgarin, Ryan Pfluger, Brandon Roberts, Chad States, Richard Stauffacher, Jeffrey Teuton, Meg Turner, Rachael Warner, and Charlotte Woolf.
(image: TM Davy, Self-Portrait in Orange Hoodie, 2019, oil on linen)
Pop of Color highlights the power of color which at times pops, sizzles, dazzles and dominates. The artists involved in this exhibition are masters of manipulating and highlighting our relationship with color.
The show includes the work of Matthew Keff, Ken Lavey, Adelha Lee and Miranda Thorne Pierce.
March 31 - July 14, 2018
HERE Art Center (145 6th Avennue)
(image: Miranda Thorne Pierce, Grandpa's Markers, 2017, mixed media)
Defiantly faced and confronted
with their own American history, “hopes springing high” sheds light on slavery
by using personal narratives and historically researched significances, while
confronting the viewer with the United States’ violent past, troubling present,
and uncertain future as attacks on black culture, black bodies, and the
continued institutional suppression of "otherness" continues
The show includes the work of Delano Dunn, Mary Edwards, Nona Faustine and Anders Jones.
March 6-12, 2018
SPRING/BREAK Art Show (4 Times Square)
(image, Delano Dunn, A Brief Moment, 2017, paper, Mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish and resin on board)
The artists in “Abstract Communication”
each use a unique method of communication with startling results: from the
simplicity and beauty of Morse code, to the immediacy of Google maps and the
proliferation and dominance of the ever-present ‘selfie’ culture. Faced with multiple ways to communicate with
one another, are we sending the right message? Or just getting lost in
show includes the work of Kat Chamberlain, John Chang, Rick Herron, Scott Hug,
Amy Richards, Jeffrey Teuton and Quinn Tivey.
March 16 to May 6, 2017
HERE Art Center, 145 6th Avenue, New York City
(image: Rick Herron, Suffering Pond, 2017, archival pigment print.)
Co-curated by Geo Gonzalez and Dan Halm
March 25-May 21, 2016
ROCKELMANN&, Berlin, Germany
UNEARTHED runs parallel to our digital era. We are constantly reminded of our concerns about concealing our identities and our personal information from systematic surveillance. UNEARTHED hacks into this system and leaves behind its traces in it. The viewer gets a glimpse of these traces through human effects on material. UNEARTHED is undoubtedly built from the human touch; its DNA is impossible to hide. UNEARTHED is present, visceral, and real.
UNEARTHED takes inspiration from past rebellious groups of artists who founded the outsider ceramics movement such as Kenneth Price, Jerry Rothman, and John Mason. In the 1950s, abstract expressionist clay sculptures merged the divide between craft and the fine arts movement, often coined as ‘total freedom.’ Howard Kottler also paved the way for controversial ceramic art in the 60’s and 70’s. He has been described as “setting the stage for the new genre of in-your-face clay.” UNEARTHED honours this history but also allows the viewer a rare chance to see the emergence of new names and works.
(image: Katy Stubbs, David Buys Golitha's Body for One Night of Passion, 2015, ceramic)
The rhythm, the synchronicity of motion, music pulsating, undulating, bodies contorting. Dance continues to inspire and motivate artists and vice versa; this relationship between the two art forms has a rich historical significance, most notably Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. This perfect marriage between the two art forms allows viewers to experience the power of dance, the vehicles for expression, the motivation of collaboration and the grace and beauty of it all.
The show includes the work of Nir Arieli, Glenys Barton, Tad Beck, Dana Bell and Rachel Papo.
August 20 - October 10, 2015
Here Art Center, 145 Sixth Avenue, NYC
(Image: Tad Beck, Double Document – Neal Beasley 1, 2013, Ultrachrome print, edition of 3.)
I like art with a little bit of a bite to it, just make sure it's
sugarcoated. The artists selected for this exhibition on the surface
present cheery, candy-colored images but look a bit deeper and you’ll
notice they are tackling darker, and in some cases sad themes of love,
family, and self doubt.
The show includes the work of Matt Bucy, Brandon
Davey, Colleen Ford, Katya Grokhovsky, Scooter LaForge, LJ Lindhurst,
Gregg Louis, Tawnie Silva and Richard Stauffacher.
A spoonful of sugar definitely makes the medicine go down, in a most delightful way!
April 17 - May 24, 2014 (Here Art Center, 145 Avenue of the Americas, NYC)
(image: LJ Lindhurst, Magenta Sweet Soaker, 2013, acrylic on canvas)
I got to thinking about if there is any correlation between inspiration and the network of artists who we choose to associate ourselves with. Which got me thinking about networking, which then reminded me of that old Breck shampoo TV commercial where "she told two friends, and so on and so on...". Hence the birth of this curatorial project.
Each artist selected to partake in this project invites two additional artists until we reach our core number of 100. Then the game starts all over again.
This past September at the Visual Arts Museum, I curated a show of six brilliant fashion photographers (Roderick Angle, Guy Aroch, Maki Kawakita, Ryan Michael Kelly, Chiun-Kai Shih and Sarah Silver). Elle Magazine called the exhibition "the must see fashion photography show of the fall."
Visual Arts Musuem at the School of Visual Arts
September 6 - October 6, 2007
(image: Sarah Silver)