SCREWBALL ASSES | APRIL 25 - JUNE 7, 2009 | OPENING APRIL 25, 6-9PM
CURATED BY HEDI EL KHOLTI AND DAVID JONES
FEATURING WORKS BY GENE BARNES A.K.A. PORTIA MANSON, SHEYLA BAYKAL, GARY LEE BOAS, ROBERT ALAN HYDE, HEDI EL KHOLTI, MATT FISHBECK, MARK FLORES, PAUL GELLMAN, DAVID JONES, WILLIAM E. JONES, BRIAN KENNY, SLAVA MOGUTIN, AND DONNIE & TRAVIS
"The stereotype is only a remnant as a result of having been multiplied--of an original emotion. Its accentuation ends up evoking a lack in the contemplative viewer: the nostalgic intuition of what the original object of that voluptuous emotion might have been, or simply the emotion itself or the obsessional fantasy... The interpretative function of the stereotype is to conceal, but if it is accentuated in excessive proportion, it becomes a critique of its own concealment." -- Anne Marie Lugan-Dardigna on Pierre Klossowski
Taking its name from an essay from 1973 by Guy Hocquenghem, "Screwball Asses" is a group exhibition curated by Hedi El Kholti and David Jones, which examine the range of archetypes that inform gay male identity. Through a deliberate vernacular, "Screwball Asses" creates a flux between the maker and the spectator where sensibilities run from the flaming to the hyper-virile.
Contributions are as varied as Gary Lee Boas' photographic portraits of small town drag culture to the master/slave dynamics of the collages of Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenney reflecting the ways gay men have subdivided themselves into areas of specialization. Other contributions include Paul Gellman's performative fabric constructions that take inspiration from the San Francisco pattern and decorative arts movement, in particular the influential text, "Native Funk and Flash," (1974). Gene Barnes, a.k.a. Portia Manson (1964-1995) creator of the seminal '90s queer zine "Hippydick" contributes a single channel video, "Thank Gay I'm God," which documents Act Up-era San Francisco and the radical Faerie movement centered around Wolf Creek in Oregon. Kindred to this end of the exhibit's spectrum are the bronze and steel Jaguar mask of Robert Alan Hyde. Currently residing in rural Massachusetts, Hyde's treatment integrates the skill of the decorative with the anthropomorphic spirit of the Dionysian and ancient mystery cults.
Mark Flores' drawing "Christ From a Flagellation (Distorted)" also examines a familiar archetype. Using art history, Flores sublimates sexual desire through the technical obsession of his craft blending the pleasures of the subjects with his labor. Matt Fishbeck's pictures instill a distinct sense of obfuscation and play in self-portraiture. In both "The Chaperone" (an untreated digital photograph) and "Fou" (a heavily treated, or made-up image), he employs "mask" tropes that simultaneously limit (conceal) personal identity and engender possibilities for its movement, or even alterity.
Two single channel videos are projected in The Company's outdoor annex. William E. Jones' "British Invasion" matches images from the 1986 gay porn movie "The British Are Coming" with a soundtrack of remarks from the Jean-Luc Godard-directed Dziga Vertov Group's 1969 movie "See You at Mao, a.k.a. British Sounds." Class warfare and sexual cannibalism are stripped bare, teased with a whip, tattooed, suckled, and showered in a mere eight minutes (from Johnny Ray Huston, "Underworld Meets Underground: William E. Jones Uncovers Hidden Stories in Porn's Dark Edges," San Francisco Bay Guardian, vol. 41, no. 20 (February 14-20, 2007, p. 57.) David Jones' "The Secret Loves of Jesse James" is an animated meditation on the theme of satyriasis, the excessive and often uncontrollable sexual desire in men. Through the archetype of the cowboy code, he explores how the masculine discourse of the west is balanced upon a razor's edge of intimacy and violence.
Sheyla Baykal's photographs are a secret history of the Lower East Side that escape professional art historicizing. A Ford Agency model and a friend and collaborator of Peter Hujar, she left modeling to document the drag queens, runaways, and the burlesque stars of Second Avenue, capturing them in the Rococo of their entire self-invented splendor. Hedi El Kholti's presents his fanzine, "By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Gone." The work attempts to articulate his relationship to a culture that has formed his sensibility. Working in collaboration, Donnie & Travis create photo-based figurative works on silk embellished with textile dyes and silk and cashmere embroidery. Embedding their subjects in a pictorial reality that begins and ends with a reflection on the body and its physical indexes, Donnie & Travis' work examines a unique territory within their polar processes of the mechanical and the handmade, creating an amalgam of media that treads a beautifully distorted line between portraiture and allegory.
PARKING: Inexpensive hourly parking can be found close to The Company at Bamboo Plaza's parking lot, located between Hill and Broadway Streets (entrance on Bernard Street). Meters can also be found on Yale Street in front of The Company.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE COMPANY, INFO@THECOMPANYART.COM OR CALL (213) 221-7082 | HOURS: WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY 12-6PM, OR BY APPOINTMENT.
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