The exhibition reflects progressing artistic and cultural concerns, and charting cultural reception to figurative work representing three slices of 20th Century Gay experience. The selection of paintings by Hugh Steers gives a vantage of sexuality and relationships; 'Sex Parts' is Warhol's series of screen prints of sexual acts; Cadmus' works on paper celebrate desire of an idealized male form.
To inaugurate its representation of the Estate of Hugh Steers, Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present an exhibition contextualizing his work with two generational predecessors, reflecting progressing artistic and cultural concerns, and charting cultural reception to figurative work representing three slices of 20th Century Gay experience.
Paul Cadmus’ works on paper celebrate desire of an idealized male form. His WPA-era prints, including YMCA Locker Room (1934), Youth With Kite (1941) and Two Boys on a Beach No. 1 (1938) are radical for their time, with their homoerotic undertones. Later studies of male models and dancers, notable for their highly stylized marking and gesture, underscore a romantic view of languid, posing young men. Innocence, freedom, beauty and distance are hallmarks of Cadmus’ representation of the male nude and sexuality.
Made in 1978, Andy Warhol’s Sex Parts, a series of screen prints isolating Gay sexual acts, presents a more graphic approach to the male form and gay life in the late 1970s. Based on Polaroid photographs, Warhol’s tight cropping and added gesture further mediate a distance between the artist/observer and subject—sexual act and participant. Through Warhol’s image Identity is stripped; sex itself becomes anonymous and flattened.
The selection of paintings by Hugh Steers gives a vantage of sexuality and relationships. Painted early in the AIDS crisis, Steers’ images are at once allegorical and autobiographical: couples in embrace, remorse, and modes of care-taking. With the backdrop of hospital rooms and domestic spaces, the mis-en-scenes are emotional and intimate, suggesting beauty found in loss and mortality.
Paul Cadmus (1904-1999) came to prominence among the generation of artists involved with the Public Works of Art Project in the 1930s. His work is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a leading pioneer of the Pop art movement, and was celebrated also as a filmmaker, impresario, and cultural icon. His work is included in the collections of: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, among others. Born in Washington, D.C., Hugh Steers (1963–1995) studied painting at Yale University, and pursued a commitment to figuration throughout his career, cut dramatically short by AIDS at the age of 32. Steers’ artwork is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Denver Art Museum, CO.
Alexander Gray Associates is a contemporary art gallery based in New York. The gallery has established a profile for high-quality exhibitions focused on mid-career artists who emerged in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Influential in political, social and cultural spheres, these artists are notable for creating work that crosses geographic borders, generational contexts and artistic disciplines.
Image: Hugh Steers, Chair to Bed (1993) Oil on canvas 60.06h x 53.13w in (152.55h x 134.95w cm)
Please note: there is not an opening reception for this exhibition.
Alexander Gray Associates
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