Dirty Looks' winter gathering celebrating their website re-launch
Most of the time, looking around New York, it seems as though there’s no end to the talent that lives and thrives here. There are musicians in the subway, visual artists in public parks, and a sweep of live performances happening nightly, not to mention the horde of galleries housing some of the art world’s most interesting up-and-comers. And, like all good things in this world, a large number of these talented people happen to be of the queer community. Dirty Looks, a NYC-based roaming series showcasing LGBT film and media, is launching a new website in 2014 to provide a platform for discourse on these queer artists that call our dirty, noisy city home. The site will serve as a unique publishing platform, allowing for writing and discourse around queer experimental cinema.
In preparation for the launch, Dirty Looks is hosting a holiday event, ‘Wholly Night,’ at the Bowery Electric on December 9 at 8:00PM, packed with performances by queer artists that’s bound to be a feast for both eyes and ears. The night begins with a must-see performance by M. Lamar, whose classically-trained operatic vocals and doomsday aesthetic are sure to kick things off with an enthralling bang. DJ sets by Colin Self, Amber Valentine and D’hana Perry. Visuals by Josef Kraska. Later on, there will be a performance by the excellently-named Bushwick ensemble Bottoms for self-described “dungeon music for dungeon people.” We don’t know what that means either, but we can’t wait to find out.
For tickets and more info about ‘Wholly Night,’ click here.
The dancers rehearse their latest piece, 'ACADEMY,' premiering this weekend at 92Y
Artist and hot curator discusses his latest endeavors
If you’ve never heard of Richard Hawkins before, now is the time to start Googling his name. Since the early 1990s, Hawkins has been producing some of the most evocative, incomparable artwork we’ve ever seen, all teeming with an undercurrent of homoerotic appreciation and longing. Using collage and sculpture as his primary medium (although branching out into just about everything else as well), Hawkins’ work has been featured in galleries across the world, and for good reason: with pieces that are as elaborate and carefully designed as they are rife with gay imagery and subtext, Hawkins’ work speaks to people all across the Kinsey scale, transcending what often ends up being a niche audience.
Most recently, the artist Hawkins co-curated ‘Tom of Finland & Bob Mizer,’ a retrospective on the two iconic gay artists now on view at MOCA in Los Angeles until January 26th. Also, currently on view until January 26th, 2014 at Le Consortium, Dijon is the his latest exhibition ‘Glimmer.’ We got to interview the LA-based artist on what his curation means to him, what his process is like, and why he’s newly infatuated with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain.” Hint: it has a little something to do with naked bearded hippie boys…
Where do you live? Los Angeles, old gay Silverlake
Where would be your dream location to exhibit your work? The Musee Moreau in Paris, definitely. Le Consortium, Dijon though was also a dream come true. The one that got away was Palazzo Fortuny in Venice. If you know this place — Moorish architecture, decayed walls hung with faded tapestries — you know it would’ve been perfect. I was ¾’s of the way through deliberations for a show there before it fell through. I think the problem was shipping — imagine one of my 10 tall haunted dollhouses teetering on the edge of a gondola.
You’ve used teen heartthrobs from the past like Keanu Reeves and Matt Dillon in your work. Do you have any contemporary favorites? I post found digital collages of Justin Bieber and Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker on my Tumblr account but never make any of my own. Though it seems like it would be perfect I can’t buy into the whole Twilight boybabe thing.
Are there any new artists that excite you? Elijah Burgher is exciting. His forays into sacred symbols, gay sprituality and the occult seem like really great manifestations of what has always been brewing with the Radical Faerie movement — just better.
You recently co-curated an exhibition on Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer. What about these two artists has impacted you the most? Has their art influenced your own work? I of course once worked for several years as Office Manager of the Tom of Finland Company and have been collecting Bob Mizer material for years so I’ve known and loved both artists works for at least a couple of decades. But the inspiration is less aesthetic and more one of position and practice. Both Bob and Tom were able to live in a world in which their desires were far from accepted but their solution was always to return to the studio and kind of passionately imagine new worlds into existence. There’s great inspiration for artists there: just follow your heart or your hard-on.
Where are you happiest? When you turn what you love doing into a profession you work all the time. I’m either in the studio or sitting in this chair at home writing a novel.
What’s your favorite medium to work in? Are there any that you haven’t used that you’re interested in trying out?I think I might have done everything except video and performance. Usually I follow obsessions until the medium I’m meant to be working in becomes obvious. But while I’ve spent 20 years making paintings and sculpture I always seem to return to collage. Even the new book of short stories has a basis in collage: something about reordering the existing world to suit your desires is always present.
Do you find the art world to be more supportive of queer artists now than it has been in the past? I started showing at the height of AIDS activism and the beginnings of groups like Queer Nation so, for me at least, I’ve only seen a great acceptance and even an open invitation to be as gay as you want in the artworld. It is heartening though to see such a grand array of queers showing in the 2014 Whitney Biennial: Elijah, as mentioned above, but also Tony Greene, Catherine Opie, Travis Jeppeson, Bjarne Melgaard, Ei Arakawa, Ken Okiishi, Gary Indiana and several others.
How do you do research for your projects? Is it a hands-on approach or do you prefer to use texts/internet to cull resources? It varies. If I’m writing I read everything I can find. If I’m painting I really try to go out and look at actual paintings in person. The most recent project on Butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata though took 2 trips to Tokyo to visit the Hijikata archives in person.
There is a strong undercurrent of sexuality and desire to your work. Do you feel as though you set out to put these themes into your work, or does it occur naturally? I think as an artist it’s my privilege — if not also my duty — to talk about whatever it is I’m most interested in with my work. It just happens that boys are almost always on my mind.
Who are your role models? It took a long time to realize that I had intuitively built around myself not just a network but a whole family of gay uncles and brothers that I always turned to for guidance, support and advice. Many of the names you wouldn’t know. But being friends with the film historian Donald Richie in Tokyo was probably my greatest influence. While not a studio artist like Mizer and Tom of Finland, Richie spent a lifetime researching, writing about and promoting Japanese film but always found the time and patience to address any idiotic questions I might have had. I’m always hoping I have that same passion — but also, when I’m that age (Donald was 80 when he died early this year) the same tolerance.
What was the best piece of art you ever made? I don’t think in terms of best and worst. Just whether it’s as evocative as it can be of whatever I’m obsessed with.
What is the part of your process you enjoy most when creating a new work? What is most difficult?
I prefer the spinning, whirling, elated distraction of making what I make. Sometimes, when putting the work up on the walls, the fun is already over.
What is the last great artwork (visual, film, music, lit, performance, etc.) you were exposed to? I had actually never seen Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain” but was stunned when I watched it a couple weeks ago. It’s all the color I’d want in my paintings and all the complexities I’d like my writing to have. And there are naked bearded hippie boys — which I love. I’ve recently taken some time off from looking at most contemporary things … so, sorry, I can’t comment on that.
What are you working on right now? I may be finally coming to the end of the work I started two years ago on Tatsumi Hijikata. I havent done a final count but it seems like around 150 collages and books came out of the project. Many of which will be shown at Tate Liverpool in February. Otherwise I intentionally took time off from showing and spent a lot less time in the studio this past year to reacquaint myself with who I was in the early 90s. I’d seemed to have lost touch with the fact that I was a fiction writer and had the painter Tony Greene as my best friend. Tony died of AIDS in 1990 but I think I’ve completed archiving his estate and now, as I said above, he’s in the Whitney Biennial. The first book of short stories was published 2 months ago.
With performances by Keckler, Markey & Mellman
It’s that time of the year again, folks. Lights are spun on every street corner, that big ass tree is propped up in Rockefeller Center, and, yes, it has already snowed at least once. Whether the holiday spirit turns you into a joyful little kid or an exceptionally cunty version of Scrooge, there’s nevertheless one event this season that is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Dixon Place, a LGBTQ-friendly non-profit organization devoted to providing literary and performing artists with spaces to work, create, and perform, is putting together ‘Holiday Spectacle,’ a night packed with stories and songs performed by three of the best artists downtown NYC has to offer.
The show stars Joseph Keckler, a multitalented artist, writer, and singer. A staple at Dixon Place for his one-man show this past spring, Keckler was recently named the Village Voice’s “Best Downtown Performance Artist of 2013,” and for good reason. The only thing better than Keckler’s razor sharp wit and candor is his voice, classically trained in opera and absolutely stunning. Colored in his gloriously bizarre sense of humor, we can’t wait to see what kind of holiday madness he has in store. Following is Erin Markey, a comedic performer and musician who has shown her work at New Museum, BAM, and Under The Radar. Known for an unpredictable penchant for sarcasm on stage (supported by yet another out-of-this-world singing voice), Markey’s performances are truly unique experiences. Marked by animalistic physical presence and glowering sexuality, it’s guaranteed to be a must-see performance. Lastly, there’s Kenny Mellman, most famed for being one-half of the Tony-nominated duo ‘Kiki and Herb,’ active from 1992 to 2008. Currently on tour as part of The Julie Ruin, the newest band fronted by Kathleen Hanna, Mellman is a vet of live performances, and is sure to bring his spitfire punk rock humor to the stage.
If all that isn’t enticing enough, there’s dessert, champagne, and a meet-and-greet with the artists following the performances, so I’m gonna go ahead and say now is the best time to buy your tickets. The Holiday Spectacle takes place on December 5th at 6:30 PM.
It was a night full of sexy latinos at Von
A new show exploring male erotica
Jim French‘s show of vintage polaroids is now on view at ClampArt in Chelsea. Shot in the late sixties the exhibition titled ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor‘ and the new book by the same name opened my eyes to a true pioneer in the world of recording the male physique. Better recognized by his pseudonym Rip Colt and the legendary Colt Studio he founded, French “…known for his perfectionism created classically-inspired and wonderfully composed photographs that largely established a standard and approach for the visual ideal of male sexual beauty.” Originally used as source material for his homoerotic drawings, the polaroids stand as a testament to the influence French had on such luminaries as Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts that followed.
We were fortunate enough to reach out to the 81 year old artist in his abode in Palm Springs and ask a couple of questions. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you find all these gorgeous men? Go to a gym: Throw $100.00 bills in the air.
When did you take your first photograph, can you describe it? Sometime around 1960. He was an airline pilot on vacation. The location was a barn in Sausalito. He loved his body, but who wouldn’t?
What photographers influenced your work? Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier.
How do you describe the original Colt aesthetic? The idea behind my Colt Studio was to present drop dead handsome men in ways that were creative, original and erotic.
Your polaroids are in pristine condition, how did you know to archive everything so impeccably? I bought a Polaroid camera when I was visiting Florida. I was instructed by a Polaroid salesman.
How did your military service influence your work? It helped teach me how to observe.
Did you ever date any of your subjects? Yes, one. We have now been together for 29 years.
We love Palm Springs, how did you end up there? I very often worked here when the weather permitted, and I dreaded more and more having to return to noisy, crowded Los Angeles.
Can we come visit you in Palm Springs? Of course. The weekday rates are much more reasonable.
The launch of a sexy new latino party
Puerto Rican papi Santana Williams is bringing us a much needed brand new party in NYC starting this Sunday, December 1st. As described on the flier for the event ‘Papi Champú‘ is ”a night for papis and their admirers.” This sounds like a very promising night, since most gay parties these days are about white men trying to go home with white men. I’d imagine that the lack of interracial sex can get a little boring after a while, so this could be a nice change for you boys. I had the chance to chat with Santana and he shared his excitement with me about his new venture, “I’m going for a very specific concept/vibe here. I was raised in Puerto Rico and I wanna have the perfect combination of the very ‘hood bars’ and steamy papis…” That’s right papi!
Opening set will be provided by Santana himself followed by DJs, Mazurbate, Dicap, Village Raid and DRFNKNSTN. Hosted by “us papis,” Rio Sport, Gio Mjavanadze, Marques Nolan and Mani Motarjemi. Probably the most important piece of information that you need to know — they are featuring “exotic latino go-go’s.” I’m going to leave you with the following famous words that will come in handy if you hit it off with a hot papi at this party: “Ai papi, that feels good! Oh papi, harder!” Trust me, it works everytime.
Here’s another selfie from Santana, enjoy it…
FREE before 9:00PM, $5 after, 8:00PM-2:00AM, 3 Bleecker at Bowery in the basement, NY, NY.
Time flies… I barely remember the first time I came to this party, I think I got too drunk. Ladyfag was doing her best hosting duties giving us some strong shots, who knows what kind of liquor was in them. Bitch knows how to keep a party going for sure, that’s why this party has been going strong for 1 year now. In gay party years that’s like a long term relationship.
This Friday, November 29, the party is celebrating its one year anniversary with an exciting post-turkey intoxication lineup. Miss Honey Dijon, Will Automagic and Michael Magnan will keep you dancing off the Thanksgiving pounds. It will be hosted by some of our favorite cunts in NYC: Amanda Lepore, Juliana Huxtable, and of course the irrepressible Ladyfag. Don’t bother with Black Friday sales and wear something you already own, it’s going to get dirty anyways.
FREE before midnight, $5 after, 11:11PM, 244 East Houston St. NY, NY.
Fierce Pussy develops an exhibition for World AIDS Day
For this year’s Day With(out) Art, the annual collaborative arts project held on World AIDS Day by New York-based contemporary arts organization Visual AIDS, the group enlisted the queer artist collective Fierce Pussy to develop its centerpiece exhibition. Titled ‘For the Record‘ curated by Risa Puleo, the text-based result examines the ‘what ifs’ of those lost to the AIDS pandemic, utilizing variations of the phrase “if he/she/they were alive today…” to incredibly powerful effect.
Printed on broadsides, the piece mourns the widespread loss of loved ones to AIDS while simultaneously opening a dialogue on the erasure of personal and collective memories from the pages of history. The artists of fierce pussy tapped into the cadences of contemporary culture to place the work in a very present, immediate frame of mind. “If she were alive today you’d be texting her,” one of the sentences reads. “If he were alive today you would have met him by now,” reads another. The pathos behind the seemingly simple set-up is nothing less than astonishing.
In conjunction with For the Record, Visual AIDS is also throwing a series of public events on World AIDS Day on December 1st. Billed under the subtitles ‘Talk, Walk, and Sing’, the events range from artist talks and public forums to a house and disco set at The Rusty Knot in the West Village. Check out the full schedule of events at the Visual AIDS website, and be sure to see For the Record in person at NYC’s Printed Matter, on view from November 23 – December 13.
Don’t miss the opening reception of ‘For the Record,’ Saturday, November 30, 5:00PM-7:00PM at Printed Matter, 195 10th Ave. NY, NY.
Celebrating the NYC house ballroom scene — Patricia Field was inducted into The Ballroom Hall of Fame by Jack Mizrahi
A postcard book by Aaron Krach
Let’s face it: in our crass 21st century world of hook-up apps, dating sites, and Craigslist ads, the art of pursuing a lover can sometimes feel, to put it lightly, pretty revolting. It appears that artist Aaron Krach picked up on that for his new book of postcards, ‘Things to Tell Your Lover,’ a collection of 21 unique photographs of found text — bits of signs, graffiti, and advertisements — which he has refashioned into bold declarations of love and lust.
The book is a perfect departure from our modern version of electronic courtship, turning distinctly metropolitan, mundane text and advertisements into bawdy valentines (a gold chain necklace beckons “Bite Me”; a garage expresses sincere erotic gratitude via a placard: “Thank you for coming”). The best part? Each postcard can be peeled from the book and given away to your own lover (or potential lover, anyway). And, honestly, what’s more charming than a handwritten note from a secret admirer?
The idea for the book comes from Krach’s online project of the same name, in which he photographs found text around New York and other cities he’s visited that inspires and invigorates him as an artist. On the website for the work, Krach has attracted hundreds of submissions from around the world, stretching from California to Qatar.
Check out the project’s website here to submit your own stimulating text, and be sure to stop by for the launch of the book at Printed Matter on November 22, 6:00PM-8:00PM.
I went on a fantastic spontaneous roadtrip to Washington D.C. with my friend, GAYLETTER contributor and groundbreaking artist Renee Cox. She had a couple of appointments with important curators there and I went along for the ride. I packed a black Juicy Couture corduroy blazer (cuz I know those queens love a lapel) a couple of french tailored pressed shirts, a nice bottle of red for the car, some tomme de savoie (that’s cheese), pistachio nuts and a cock ring. The drive down went by in a flash, we had so much catching up to do. We arrived at our host Shawanda‘s cute house dropped our bags, had a cocktail and pressed on to the spot that was hosting Renee’s cocktail party the next night for a boozy dinner, then straight to bed.
We woke in bright sunshine, Renee made a breakfast of fresh squeezed orange juice and steel cut oatmeal with maple syrup. While she went on to her meeting I investigated the National Portrait Gallery for the very first time. WOW, spent hours in that place. The exhibition of all the president’s portraits from Washington on was intense. Props to Bill Clinton for choosing Chuck Close to do his portrait. Apparently each sitting president chooses the painter they want to do their portrait-who knew? While deep in thought at the photo contest installation adjacent to the presidents, Renee texted me she was done. We met around the corner at OYA, a fabulous Japanese restaurant where we had sashimi, beers and a photo shoot in their black and white over-designed lounge. Then Renee split for appointment #2 and I went to the Corcoran Gallery for a brief visit. After it was time to head to the cocktail party.
I stayed in the background as Renee circulated effortlessly among the collectors and art patrons at the party. We went to a nearby french bistro for dinner where fortunately the waiter accidentally dumped a glass of red wine on Shawanda’s assistant and after some heated discussion, gave us the whole meal for free. Right to bed, no gay bars as promised, no need for the cock ring.
We woke early because Shawanda had to go to work and drove around for awhile waiting for The National Gallery to open at 10. We passed the Navy Yard where the shooting occurred which was sad. We parked right in front of the Capitol on the mall and had to run around chasing quarters for the meter…can you imagine? Begging for change from the cashier in the National Gallery gift shop while we are at the geographical epicenter of our government, how pedestrian! Once the car was sorted we went back into the National Gallery and saw an amazing tightly edited show of Kerry James Marshall as well as an enticing show of Ellsworth Kelley prints. But the true standout, for me at least, was the extensive exhibition about the Ballet Russes. We then tried to go back to Oya but they were having a private lunch for Trayvon Martin so we went to their sister restaurant whose name escapes me.
After lunch we hit the highway home with a stopover at the University of Delaware to visit Renee’s buff son and buy a computer at the local Apple Store and have some mall pizza. I then took the wheel to bring it on home back to our very own shiny apple. Happy to have gone, happy to be home.
An unique interactive pop-up casino experience at W New York
This event was part of Performa 13 - hosted by Federico De Francesco.