PETER HUJAR Paul Thek, Nude, Astride Zebra, c.1965 Vintage gelatin silver print 17 x 14 in. Copyright 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
PAUL THEK AND HIS CIRCLE IN THE 1950s
Apr 12 - Jul 07, 2013
The storied homophobia of the 1950s hardly reached the young Paul Thek or the young men in his circle. His early work, arguably the gayest of his entire career, is filled with images of his lovers and close friends, including other artists such as Peter Harvey, Peter Hujar and Joseph Raffael.
In these photographs, drawings and paintings, the artists attest to the importance of their intimacy, not only unabashedly figuring their same-sex relationships, but more importantly, their influence on one another’s work.
But the twined conventions of homophobia and the exclusion of gay themes by other institutions commits a type of violence on this network of male intimates, making it appear as if the mature Thek emerged alone, fully fledged.
In this exhibition, we turn back the clock, returning Thek to the context of his first emergence as an artist among the men he loved. In so doing, we model an alternative art history, attuned to the conversations among young queer artists as they became the figures we now know.