DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Queer

 

Matt Savitsky
Math Bass
Robert Yang
Tom Burr
Harmony Hammond
Nica Ross
Prem Sahib
Vika Kirchenbauer
Lee Blalock
A.K. Burns
Saeborg
Buzz Slutzky
Alexander Glass
Zach Blas
Nikita Gale
Rudy Lemcke
Harriet Horton
Cassils
Nayland Blake

 

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Matt Savitsky Life Under Glass (Excerpt), 2015
‘The day we talked to Matt Savitsky, he was moving out of his North Philadelphia studio, in preparation for a road trip across the country with his father. Savitsky, moved to Philadelphia from what he called “the New York pressure cooker.” Here he found a whole different way of life–first isolation and unemployment, and then friendship in a multi-generational community of gay men. Savitsky says he’s shy, but his art, often with openly gay content, includes not-so-shy performance; he quickly found an audience at places like Vox Populi, the Painted Bride and Bodega in the short time he spent here. Matt grew up around Lancaster, PA, in a very different environment–a conservative Christian farm life, but ultimately his family encouraged his interest in art. Now he is moving on again, this time to graduate school at the University of California San Diego.’ — artblog

 

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Math Bass
‘In paintings, sculpture, and video, perception-bending Los Angeles-based artist Math Bass emphasizes that symbols change meaning according to context and orientation, and that the body and its costumes are meaningful symbols whether they are actually present or only suggested.’ — museums.org


Body No Body Body, 2013


Domino Kingdom, 2017


Teen Dream, 2016

 

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Robert Yang Rinse and Repeat (2018)
Rinse and Repeat is a steamy first person showering game about giving a hunk a helping hand. Was he in your Tactical Zumba class, or was it Blood Pilates? Usually you wouldn’t risk a shower right after class, they already talk enough shit about you, but the other day — a cough then a smirk and then a knowing glance, that’s all it ever takes until you start hoping against hope. Don’t fuck it up. Show up when he’ll show up, right after class. Set multiple alarms on your phone, mark your calendar, clear your schedule. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy? What is it that fills you with this extraordinary excitement?… Boy, it’s the promise of a workout.’ — RY

 

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Tom Burr Circa ’77 (2015)
‘Burr’s sculpture re-creates not just any urban green space, but rather a bit of Platzspitz, a riverside park in Zurich that was once a popular gay cruising ground. When Burr first created the work, for Kunsthalle Zürich in 1995, he was imagining that parcel of land as it had been about twenty years before, when it was a zone of eros and danger. It would then become a haven for drug users before being cleaned up by the city in the mid-‘90s, when Burr arrived. Recreated in New York, the work evokes the city’s bygone gay cruising grounds, especially the Ramble, an area in Central Park.— artnews

 

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Harmony Hammond Floorpieces (1973)
‘In 1973, the artist Harmony Hammond made a series of artworks entitled Floorpieces. Based on traditional rag-rug techniques, these braided fabric pieces were selectively painted and then placed, like rugs, directly on the ground. The making of the Floorpieces coincided with Hammond coming out, and their spiraling, braided form is suggestive of both lesbian erotics and traditions of women’s handicraft. Hammond’s work challenges many of the binary oppositions that continue to structure conversations of craft—high/low, masculine/feminine, functional/decorative.’ — collaged

 

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Nica Ross O Michael – WREST (2012)
‘Nica Ross is a visual artist whose work challenges normative ideologies that are reinforced by technology and game play. Their current practice is an evolving pursuit of pleasure checked; or perhaps bolstered, by the failure of representation. This work takes multiple forms: video installation, performance, gayming, sporting and more. The continuity across these forms is an invitation that is inherent in each piece. They currently work as an instructor in the Video Media Design option within the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University.’ — Nica Ross site

 

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Prem Sahib
‘Prem Sahib, who has been gaining a steady reputation with shows, performances and club nights in Mumbai, Rome, London and New York, has created pieces which explore “the idea of a social space being a contested space” and how that “might elicit universal bodily responses, whether pleasure or anxiety, such as feeling physical empathy and desire for someone in proximity, or unease at their unwanted presence.”‘ — i-d


Ashes, 2017


End Up, 2015


Watch Queens, 2015

 

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Vika Kirchenbauer Cool for You (2017)
‘It’s important to me that there is a sense of atmosphere or aesthetics that is kind of ambiguous, that there is some sense of violence and hysteria but also almost a kind of ecstasy or enthusiasm that’s uncanny, in a way. Depending on how you listen to it, it can also be sad but still almost like a drug or something. I want to craft things in a way so that, affectively, one can connect with them in different moments or moods, in quite different ways and discover different contradicting elements in terms of affect and emotion.’ — V.K.

 

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Lee Blalock Loving the Alien: Instructions for Other Orthographic Projections, 2015
‘Building from her personal history, an obsession with rules and order, and a love of Speculative Fiction, Blalock creates a new series of art work that documents and hypothesizes a process of the future superbody and its daily operations. Her works on paper combine computer code, geometric diagrams, and organic hand-drawn gestures to render the imagined figure. Repetition, duplication, and looping of sounds, shapes, and typographic characters are techniques she uses to enliven the work with a mechanical pulse. Far from a modern day Frankenstein, but not quite the bionic woman, the bodies Blalock creates absorb the digital into the corporeal, and question the possibility of a body without race, gender, or biological deficiency.’ — Hyde Park Art Center


 

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A.K. Burns Untitled (work shirts), 2013
‘Working as an interdisciplinary artist and educator, A.K. Burns perceives the body as a contentious domain wherein socio-political issues are negotiated. Using video, installation, sculpture, drawing, writing and collaboration Burns queries systems of value as they are embodied at the nexus of language and materiality. Playing with tropes and symbolically weighted imagery and giving particular attention to that which is devalued or exploited (waste, absences, subjugation), Burns works towards unraveling the traumas of late capitalism.’ — collaged

 

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Saeborg Pigpen, 2016
‘Saeborg, the imperfect cyborg, is half human, half toy. Saeborg’s performances are resembling nightmarish configurations of gigantic playmobils in bizarre fairytale settings. Inflatable latex is used to shape the huge figures of a truck-sized pig and its humanoid piglets. No matter how cartoonish and friendly they seem, the birth of the inflatable piglets is playfully twisted. Sleazy, shiny, squeaking, anthropomorphic, these pigs are crossbreeds between BDSM and animal-costumed PETA protesters. Is it a queer performance of operatic proportions or an allegory created to initiate kids in veganism? Are those cute piglets to be hugged and petted or are they bloated sexual fantasies to be acted out in role-playing? In Saeborg’s Pigpen, the humans step aside while the pork-chops trot in the spotlight.’ — Athens Biennale 2018 ANTI

 

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Buzz Slutzky A Garden Sown!, 2016
‘I burn images from popular and queer/transgender cultures, as well as my own life, into pine and fir, so as to mark architectural material with personal and cultural affect. Both visually and conceptually, the pyrographs are like tattoos: they display externally something deeply personal, making the private public.’ — BS

 

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Peter Clough Peter (you are what you eat), 2016
‘In Clough’s large sculptural wall work “Peter (you are what you eat),” a laser-cut photograph depicts Clough bent at the waist, mouth open. An intricate kinetic sculpture surrounds the photograph in which wooden balls, resembling feces, are recycled through holes in the asshole and mouth of the image. Here, Clough becomes the butt of his own joke, his own “locker room talk,” taking on an image of extreme degradation as a gesture of both self-effacing humor and political desperation.’ — Art Rabbit

 

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Alexander Glass
‘Alexander Glass is a sculptor and installation artist currently based in London. Glass explores the separation between image and fantasy in spaces commonly associated with aspirational maleness. He does this by recreating scenes or locations that are commonly used fetishise the male body, such as swimming pools, gyms and locker rooms, and, most recently, high-rise flats.’ — i-D


Hang by the Pool (Speedo 1), 2016


Another Flop, 2016


Head in the Game, 2016


Hang by the Pool (Speedo 2), 2016

 

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Zach Blas Contra Internet (2018)
Contra-Internet confronts the growing hegemony of the internet through installation, video works, CGI animation, glow-in-the-dark text, blown-glass sculptures and a single-edition publication titled The End of the Internet (As We Knew It). At the center of the exhibition is Blas’s timely science fiction film, Jubilee 2033, which presents a futuristic queer society rising from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Silicon Valley.’ — Art Fuse

 

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Harriet Horton (2015 -> )
‘Taxidermist Harriet Horton’s artistic practice was born out of a rejection of traditional taxidermy methods. After finding herself at odds with the unethical and overtly masculine culture of trophy hunting, Horton decided to take her work in an entirely new direction. Horton believes that being queer is central to her thought-process, giving her the power to be confident in her decisions. “When you don’t follow a pre-existing heteronormative path, there are so many obstacles which force you to think differently and creatively.”‘ — i-D

 

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Cassils Inextinguishable Fire (2015)
‘On Sunday evening, the Spill festival ended not with a bang but with flames being extinguished on the stage of the National’s Dorfman theatre where, 14 seconds previously, the Canadian artist Heather Cassils had been set on fire. It was the first and, Cassils has said, last ever live performance of Inextinguishable Fire, a piece that already exists in film form, showing the artist’s full body burn in slow motion, with the 14 seconds extended to 14 minutes. The film was shown immediately after the live performance. Projected on to one of the walls of the Royal Festival Hall in London, the film and the memory of the live performance spoke back and forth in constant dialogue.’ — The Guardian

 

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Nikita Gale
‘Before developing a visual practice, Gale was a self-described “bedroom musician,” and studied anthropology and archaeology, disciplines that necessitate looking closely at artefacts for evidence of their use, as well as of the cultural forces that shaped the conditions of their making. Her earlier sculptures and installations synthesize and extrapolate on the politics of materials, calling upon the personal and cultural histories latent in the objects she includes in them. Making use of items with embedded cultural significance and prosthetic function, like cars and electric guitars, as well as of objects with bodily associations, she builds a precise tension that corrupts a one-to-one translation between a thing and its meaning within the context of her art.’ — aqnb




Big Bad Pickup, 2017



Interceptor, 2019


Untitled (Legend), 2013


Descent, 2018

 

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Rudy Lemcke
‘Rudy Lemcke is an artist who lives and works in San Francisco, California. His paintings and sculpture have been exhibited in such venues as: The Whitney Museum of Art, The DeYoung Museum, The University Art Museum at Berkeley, The San Francisco Art Institute, The Grey Gallery in New York, and Modernism Gallery in San Francisco. His video works have been shown internationally in venues such as the Dallas Video Festival, the Mix Festival, San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival, Hallwalls, ATA Gallery, Stoney Brook University, SUNY (Framingdale), Festival Nemo, Paris and IFEA Festival, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. He is now an independent web developer and video game designer and artist.’ — collaged


Pansy Farm Game Play, 2017


Cloud Forest Video Game Play, 2018

 

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Nayland Blake



Restraint Chair, 1989. Breuer chair augmented with shackles, leather collar and cuffs, cord, mirror.


Work Station #5, 1989. Steel, glass, aluminum, leather, plastic, rubber, and cleavers.


Untitled, 1990

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. Yes, I met Laura Duc Comidias once in passing. Oh, right, yes, I remember David Brooks, mostly via your book, now. And I’ll see what I can find of his work online. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Oh, no! About Alec Finlay’s project! What a load of crap. Can he challenge the decision? Or are there are other possible funding sources? It seems like a project that would be very appealing to fund if he found the right source(s). Shit! ** Steve Erickson, I remember when the Paul is Dead theory first arose, it seemed eerily plausible if far-fetched, but it was all about the clues littered in the Beatles’ work then, and it hadn’t evolved into all the bald-faced absurd stuff about Faul and aliens and all of that. Curious about ‘Midsommar’, obviously. I don’t remember why, but things I’ve read have made me wary. ** NLK, Hi! Welcome, very good to meet you! I’m curious to see your work. Is it possible? Thanks very much about the gif work. You know, I haven’t seen very many people/artists working seriously with gifs, which has kind of surprised me. The artist Stephen Purtill, who’s a commenter on this blog as well, has done quite interesting work with them. But otherwise … nothing much unless I’m blanking or it has escaped me. The making of them is a lot more intuitive and mix-and-match laborious/playful than it might appear. I mean I have a schematic, usually a narrative or through line/structure in mind from the beginning, but it has to stay hugely flexible because I use found gifs and the resource is pre-determined, so it’s kind of a matter of having a strict-ish goal that I’m trying to implement, but, at the same time, being very attentive to interesting accidents that might work but distort what I’m looking for, if that makes any sense. I’ve gotten much better at making the works as time goes on, I guess naturally. Obviously, I’m going to highly encourage you to work with them. I’m jonesing to see other gif works, and I do think there are a lot of possibilities that don’t fall into my particular way of using them. So I hope you will, and I hope you’ll let me know what happens if you do. Thanks a lot! ** Misanthrope, Cool. I suppose I could be tagged as a lifelong youth corrupter too, but I’m not sure I would use the word corrupt. Not that I can think of the right word. We’re in the low 80s now. It’s borderline heavenly. And it’s more akin to normal summers in Paris that, before global warming kicked way in, were pretty A-okay other than a week or so of misery. ** Right. Today’s post does what it does without further verbal interference, I think. Enjoy? See you tomorrow.

11 Comments

  1. Thank you. I like the art andall, but the verbiage in the art world makes me crazy. And I am not just being some kind of language police officer when I say that when someone says the work is “kind of ambiguous” — and I know it’s an offhand remark — it means they’re not taking things to a point where they challenge themselves to know what kind of project they are working on. (Is “kind of ambiguous” trying to suggest ambiguity without actually going so far as to actually be ambiguous? Because, you know, it’s all ambiguous, really it is. Own it already.)
    But you know, I was at an art school for a lonnnng time and people just get trained to think art is inferior to the expression of ideas in verbal formulas, and then aspire to the circulation of verbal tokens that elicit approval; and jeez, the work is just more interesting without it. You get to feel that the language is a kind of insulation. Jeez.
    Anyway: Peter Clough is a friend of mine who’s just the sweetest thing ever, with a very active art thing going, and I know he will be so happy to see himself splayed out here like this. It’s only like, what, six months ago I told him I wanted to put together something for you on an exhibition he did in NYC and now I see it would be a nice supplement to this Day. Seriously, my agenda is cleared for the first time in forever so I can do that kind of stuff in Paris some.
    I admire Cigarettes extravagantly, and your post has a lot of stuff I never saw before. I feel like he created such great engines for the stimulation of memory and imagination and templates for the generation of good writing. What a model for us.
    I should have chosen more time in Amsterdam; i forgot how pleasant it is to walk around here on a nice day. I was going to try to find where Spinoza lives, but no one seems to know. See you Thursday.

  2. PS Also it’s very nice to see this work by Peter Clough in action on Vimeo

  3. MIDSOMMAR is worth seeing, and I prefer it to HEREDITARY. The soft, pastel cinematography is very pretty, and it seems inspired by the intersection of art film and fantasy/horror in ’60s Eastern European films like VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS, although THE WICKER MAN hangs very heavily over it. But as with HEREDITARY, I got a sense that Ari Aster’s slumming in horror; once again, the story comes off as an elaborate metaphor for grief and the power struggles that led to a breakup, which the film also depicts directly. There’s an interesting ambiguity to it: some reviews have celebrated it as a tale of female empowerment and revenge over a “mediocre white guy” in a very 2019 way, but it’s also possible to see it as a masochistic and sexist male fantasy. It’s never as weird as it wants to be.

  4. Thanks for the reply. Do you code the HTML pages for your GIF work yourself?

    Here’s a stop-motion short I made recently that actually incorporates a GIF from one of your novels & is sometimes GIF-like itself: https://vimeo.com/308754207. This is more the kind of stuff I usually do: https://vimeo.com/213424106. A lot of my film work online is getting rather old; lately, I’ve been frustrated with all of the distance between me and the films themselves because of process/technology/crew/budget/&c. I’m forthcoming in x-r-a-y in the next few weeks as well. Thanks for your interest. Interesting post today, I wasn’t familiar with any of these works. Best.

  5. Always enjoy these themed exhibits. I have a friend who’s getting into taxidermy and I just sent her a link to Harriet Horton’s Instagram page, to which she was very appreciative.

    Yes Alec was understandably pissed off about the Creative Scotland decision. He’s sent them a detailed response and we all hope the project will somehow continue but still, it’s baffling indeed.

  6. Dennis, Yeah, corrupter…we need a better word.

    So this is really a type of Galeria! Yay! Love those.

    Until the last few years before this one, our summers here in ol’ Southern Maryland have always been very hot and muggy. I remember playing tennis in the 80s and it was 120 on court. My opponent brought a spray bottle of cold water to spray himself on changeovers. (Hey, I still won, though, hehehe.)

    95 tomorrow and 90s for July 4th, and then some cooling for a bit, I think.

    Doesn’t matter, I’ll own this weather! Or not. 😉

  7. KeatonSourChicken

    July 3, 2019 at 6:23 am

    I like these. Technology undates installation. Its Joseph Cornell or Kleinholtz without the tech. I met a guy the other night who insisted he was Queer by way of sex non-conformance. The hanging panties remind me of a Ska singers I knew bedroom. He would hang the dirty panties of all the girls he slept with around his room. And those guitars, 80’s/90’s guitars are a style of guitar now. Walkmans were the good old days. Me and my brother listening to Poison on casette and creating comics about boys as slashers. Totally insane dreams today. Like when the Queen calls. Locked in the studio for the next few days. Big love

  8. Some super-intriguing work in today’s gallery, Dennis. The only artist I know of in today’s lineup is Nayland Blake, but I haven’t seen those pieces. Robert Yang is hilarious, and I definitely need to spend more time with Lee Blalock.

    I’ve heard mixed things about Midsommar as well, though I’ll probably try to see it. I liked the ideas behind Hereditary. but thought the execution was botched. (But you know how picky I can be by now.)

    Saw Altman’s Images again. So deliciously disorienting.

    Bill

  9. Hi Dennis- thank you so much for posting my video of my friend’s severed head. You liking it gave it a whole new meaning for me. We never met, but I hope someday we can.
    Re: gif art- you probably know, but Richard Hawkins had a clever ghoulish instagram account- he gave it up though – figured he got tired of getting kicked off and censored.

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