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Last Updated June 22, 2021


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Website: Visit website
Address: Yossi Milo Gallery
245 Tenth Avenue
New York
New York State
NY 10001
Telephone: +1 212 414 0370

Starts: 28 June, 2018
Ends: 24 August, 2018
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 1000-1800hrs
Genre: People and Portraits

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present more than seventy artworks in Intimacy, curated by Stephen Truax. The exhibition traces the presentation of intimate relationships over the course of forty years in painting, photography, sculpture, installation, and works on paper.

Intimacy focuses on the 1980s through the early 1990s, and the present decade, two key timeframes marked by dramatic social change: The former by the tragedy of the AIDS crisis, the latter by increasing public acceptance of LGBTQ-identified communities and medical advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In these two periods, the exhibition links disparate formal and conceptual approaches to themes of love, loss, and interrelation. From Paul Cadmus' drawing from the late 1970s, to works made for this exhibition, such as Kristen Jensen's site-specific ceramic and fabric sculpture, these works celebrate the seemingly unremarkable moments of everyday lives lived together.

Intimacy proposes that this group of nearly forty artists from both time periods turn inward to personal experience and to the expression of individual identity as a political gesture. Exploring complex relationships - sex, sexuality, and the body - and how those relationships are necessarily affected by intersectional identities, the artists are from widely diverse backgrounds across race, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and nationality.

While a rise in activist and protest art was evident in the late 1980s through the early 1990s, when artists addressed head on the AIDS epidemic and themes of identity politics the crises provoked, an emergence of quiet, intimate bodies of work, often depicting domestic settings, also rose in prominence. These more private subjects are featured in this exhibition.

Photographs from this period by Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin and David Wojnarowicz reflect their autobiographical experiences. Portraits by George Dureau and Robert Mapplethorpe expose the personal relationships each shared with his models off-camera. Jack Pierson and Lyle Ashton Harris elaborated on this strategy, making work just as probing and personal about their lives, loves, and queer experiences. These artists became key figures, inspiring the younger artists in this exhibition.

Figurative painters Patrick Angus and Hugh Steers, both active in New York in the 1980s-early 90s, dealt with overtly queer, domestic imagery; both succumbed to AIDS-related illness. Rob Stuart, whose portrait Angus painted in Stuart's own bedroom, wrote touchingly in his 1990 poem, "I sit for Patrick Angus": "To be undressed. To be sitting for a man / I loved. I was happy for this..." In Steers' painting, Two Men and a Woman, 1992, a woman washes a naked man suffering from AIDS while his partner looks on, capturing the agony of watching a loved one pass away. Both painters, though underrepresented during their short lifetimes, made work that became instrumental in queer figurative painting today.

As Angus and Steers were in the twilight of their lives, Nicole Eisenman was just emerging from art school. It was the groundbreaking work of artists like Eisenman who spearheaded a return to figurative painting in the current decade. Her explicit images depicting figures of indeterminate gender engaged in emotional and sexual relationships, as in Lindsay's, 2016, on view in the show, paved the way for other young contemporary painters. It is on this trajectory that we locate the work of artists like Katherine Bradford, TM Davy, Louis Fratino, Samantha Nye, and Michael Stamm.

Parallel to the return to figurative painting, in the 1990s and 2000s, photographers like Wolfgang Tillmans and Katy Grannan created bodies of work that were bracingly intimate, and relied on the artists' personal relationships; more than this, they created relationships with their subjects for the viewer. Their work serves as touchstones (and even teachers) for the work of a generation of younger photographers like Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Kia LaBeija, Elle Pérez, Bryson Rand, and Paul Mpagi S...


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