Golden Gallery is pleased to announce Honor Among, a solo exhibition of artwork by Doug Ischar featuring large-scale photographs of The Eagle, a San Francisco leather bar (1987), alongside a single-channel video (2007). Both illustrate key themes of Ischar's career over the past twenty years: voyeurism and the position of the spectator, public sexuality, and representations of masculinity.
Drawn from the archives of the artist, the selected photographs from Honor Among are black border printed and displayed in three groups emphasizing the variety of visual strategies Ischar employed in the production of this work. Organized in grids on each wall, the methods of Cinéma vérité and the arrangements of tableaux vivants are evoked; the photographs serve as both windows into a world past, and artworks projecting in to our present moment. The images play ambivalent yet active roles mirroring the variety of patrons attending the weekend “beer busts” at the bar.
back the way he came alternates between the clandestine traversal of the galleries at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and footage from San Francisco’s notorious Dore Alley Street Fair. Within the video, attention shifts away from the museum’s architecture and artworks, and the street fair’s dense crowd vistas and iconic individuals, resulting in a terse dynamic between private and public. The latter half of the video reconsiders the events, artworks, and human subjects previously shown, as the artist pictures the still-sober and passive - their presence serving as a metaphor for loss, disenchantment, and inscrutability.
While the photographs present us with fully active participants, the video highlights complacent wanderers. As recently as 1987, gay men and women were considered apart from society’s normative limits (it wasn’t until 1994 that homosexuality became unlisted as an illness by the American Medical Association), hence the realization of distinct community-based eroticism. The contemporary players in Ischar’s video are afforded the negotiations of the sensible social transformations that have since transpired, but perhaps at the cost of public -
and publicized - sexuality.
Kevin Killian, noted American author, playwright and poet, has written a text to accompany the exhibition.
Honor Among is Doug Ischar’s second solo exhibition with Golden Gallery. The first, Marginal Waters, was mounted in September 2009 and featured a body of photographs never before seen in its entirety, which were taken in 1985 at Chicago’s now-defunct Belmont Rocks, one of the most visible urban gay beaches in North America at that time. The accompanying catalogue included essays by David J. Getsy, Steve Reinke, and an interview with John Neff. The exhibition received printed reviews in both Artforum and Art Papers. In January 2012, selections of Ischar’s 1993-1995 sculptural and video installations will be exhibited at Golden Gallery, New York. The exhibition will be followed by a week dedicated to screening Ischar’s recently produced singlechannel videos, including the debut of a new video artwork, Alone With You.