Gallery Schedule // 2013

December 22, 2012—February 2, 2013
Home for the Holidays
The de la Torre Brothers

January 24—27, 2013
The Metro Show NYC

January 12—February 23, 2013
Subversive Narratives: Exposing the Raw Side
balzerARTprojects

February 14—18, 2013
Art Wynwood

March 7—10, 2013
VOLTA NY

February 9—March 30, 2013
Post Coital
Rebekah Bogard, Georgine IngoldMuir VidlerScot SothernChristina West, and Becky Flanders and Marta Soul courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery

April 10—14, 2013
Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair

April 6—May 11, 2013
Solo Exhibition: Sylvia Hommert

May 25—June 29, 2013
Material Inspiration:
Gareth Mason 

June 10—16, 2013
Scope Basel 2013

June 30—July 13, 2013
Gallery Closed for Holiday

July 20—September 14, 2013
The Paintings of Erin Parish 

September 24—October 2, 2013
Collectors’ Trip to Korea with Mindy Solomon

October 10—13, 2013
Texas Contemporary Art Fair

October 31—November 3, 2013
SOFA Chicago

October 16—November 16, 2013
Renaissance Men:
A Solo Exhibition by Generic Art Solutions

December 3—8, 2013
Art Miami

November 21—December 16, 2013
Southern Fried:
John ByrdJeremy ChandlerJeremiah Jenkins

December 19, 2013—January 25, 2014
FOCUS KOREA:
Kang Hyo LeeMinkyu Lee, Sung-Jae ChoiRee Soo-Jong,
HunChung LeeWookjae MaengSungyee Kim

“Candor and Provocation: Photography at the Mindy Solomon Gallery”

by Julie Chae

Many commercial gallery owners shy away from presenting ‘controversial’ art, especially those located outside of New York and LA. In St. Petersburg, Florida, Owner/Director Mindy Solomon of the Mindy Solomon Gallery regularly organizes exhibitions that challenge cultural norms and institutions, often with candor and humor. Such exhibitions as “Undressing the Feminine” (July 3 – August 14, 2010), “Hero Worship” (August 6 – September 17, 2011) and “Contradictions” (September 24 – November 5, 2011) questioned social definitions of femininity and masculinity, and treated topics like sex, politics and race with irreverence and irony. And recently on April 14, 2012, Solomon opened “Explicit Content” (on view until May 19, 2012), an exhibition that challenges the notions of what is permissible behavior related to sexuality.

Most of the gallery’s photography artists exhibited work in at least one of these ‘controversial’ exhibitions. These artists—Muir Vidler, Generic Art Solutions, Becky Flanders, Aiden Simon, Sean Fader, Jeremy Chandler, David Hilliard, Barbara DeGenevieve and Scot Sothern—question societal values through their art and show us how we can explore or define our own identities.

Muir Vidler’s body of work involves capturing the spirit of individuals who refuse to be confined by social expectations. While traveling to different countries throughout the world—often on assignment for clients like The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Time and Sunday Times Magazine, London-based Vidler finds time to seek out vibrant lives with character for his personal work. Vidler’s images inspire me to ask questions such as:

  • Who says you can’t wear pristine white and flip off a guy with a camera?
Muir Vidler, Qatar, 2006, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x30”

Muir Vidler, Qatar, 2006, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x30”

  • Must someone who feels like a woman be a man? What does being a prostitute mean in a country with strict codes of sexual and gender behavior?
Muir Vidler, Tarlabaşi Prostitute, 2008, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x30”

Muir Vidler, Tarlabaşi Prostitute, 2008, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x30”

  • How do we define beauty?
Muir Vidler, Kelly Knox, 2009, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x24”

Muir Vidler, Kelly Knox, 2009, C-Print, edition of 6, 20”x24”

  • Who decided tattooing “Bacardi” across your lower back is a bad idea? Who cares?!
Muir Vidler, Bacardi, 2007, C-print, edition of 6, 20”x24”

Muir Vidler, Bacardi, 2007, C-print, edition of 6, 20”x24”

Generic Art Solutions (“G.A.S.”), a team of the multimedia artists Matt Vis and Tony Campbell, create sculpture, video, photography and performance art pieces using visual vocabulary from advertising, marketing and art history. G.A.S. reinterprets some of the well-known masterpieces of Western art history with present-day scenarios, questioning the cultural values represented in canonized works of art. For instance, the Church with its wealthy and powerful past has supported art throughout history that glorified God. In works by G.A.S., biblical characters praised for unwavering religious faith appear as if they could be those “crazy” folks from reality TV shows, settling family disputes with whatever happens to be within reaching distance, or buddies on a hunting trip gone bad due to a little too much alcohol.

Generic Art Solutions, The Sacrifice of Isaac, 2008, Archival pigment print, edition of 6, 24” x 36”

Generic Art Solutions, The Sacrifice of Isaac, 2008, Archival pigment print,
edition of 6, 24” x 36”

For several artists in the program like Becky Flanders, Aiden Simon and Sean Fader, debunking what people consider appropriate behavior for men and women, or even how people expect men and women to appear, is a fundamental element of their artistic inquiry. The images created by these artists challenge the ways in which society defines male and female identities.

Flanders depicts iconic women like the Virgin Mary or Marie Antoinette doing something regarded as strictly male behavior—urinating while standing up.

Becky Flanders, Marie Antoinette, 2008, Archival inkjet print, edition of 5, 50" x 40"

Becky Flanders, Marie Antoinette, 2008, Archival inkjet print, edition of 5, 50″ x 40″

Like Flanders, Aiden Simon also questions whether society should define maleness strictly by the presence of male genitalia.

Aiden Simon, Anima / Animus, 2006, Digital c-print, 15” x 12.5”

Aiden Simon, Anima / Animus, 2006, Digital c-print, 15” x 12.5”

And in his “I Want To Put You On” series, Sean Fader digitally modifies his photographs of male and female friends to appear as if he is “trying on” their bodies, blurring identities and sometimes genders.

Sean Fader, I Want To Put You On, Brian, 2007, 60” x 40”

Sean Fader, I Want To Put You On, Brian, 2007, 60” x 40”

Other artists, such as Jeremy Chandler and David Hilliard, engage in more subtle questions about masculinity in current society. In a series of photographs on hunters wearing ghillie suits for camouflage in the woods or fields, Chandler examines men’s relationship with nature. And in exploring personal relationships such as his own son-father relationship, David Hilliard delves into the meanings of these male roles as they exist in our current society—as archetypes and as lived by real persons.

Jeremy Chandler, Ghillie Suit Pine Straw, 2011

Jeremy Chandler, Ghillie Suit Pine Straw, 2011

David Hilliard, Rock Bottom, 2008, 3 C-prints back- and front-mounted to plexi, total 40” x 90”

David Hilliard, Rock Bottom, 2008, 3 C-prints back- and front-mounted to plexi, total 40” x 90”

Barbara DeGenevieve and Scot Sothern—whose works appear in the gallery’s current exhibition, “Explicit Content”—explore the concept of sex and sexuality when money is involved. In addition to sexual trafficking, these artists deal with the complex issues involved in how society values people, especially those who have pretty much nothing else except their bodies. DeGenevieve pays homeless men to go to a hotel room with her, clean off and pose nude for her pictures. It is amazing to me that some criticize DeGenevieve for “exploiting” the homeless, when the men in her images look more humanized and happy than any homeless person I have seen. Scot Sothern’s photographs of prostitutes in LA recall the raw and penetrating portraits of the downtown “Piers” scene in New York during the 1970s and 80s by Alvin Baltrop, and constitute the opposite of Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s theatrical, stylized images of prostitutes and strippers in LA from the 1990s.

Barbara DeGenevieve, Leon #6, From the Panhandler Project, 2006, Digital print, 24” x 28”

Barbara DeGenevieve, Leon #6, From the Panhandler Project, 2006, Digital print,
24” x 28”

Scot Sothern, Missy, c. 1986-1990

Scot Sothern, Missy, c. 1986-1990

The artists in Solomon’s photography program produce provocative images and challenge deeply-entrenched values with honesty and frankness. Some use humor or narrative as well. In doing so, they continue a tradition in art of artists showing us images that make us rethink our society’s values and what is possible.

Explicit Content Opens—April 14—May 19

Mindy Solomon Gallery opens Explicit Content April 14 as a pre-cursor to tax day and a good reason to explore sexual expression. Explicit Content reveals “behind closed doors” perspectives on nudity and sexual activity as expressed by leading contemporaries not afraid to disclose social taboos in an “erotic” nature.

Explicit Content-Exploring the non-romantic nature of sex

The purpose of this show is to create a visual and sensory pictorial of the most intimate, yet unemotional aspects of human sexuality. Through the black and white photo journalistically inspired works of Los Angeles prostitutes by Scot Sothern, the sculptural couplings of Christina West, graphic video diaries by Barbara DeGenevieve, fantastical erotic drawings of Bart Johnson, and in your face photos by Becky Flanders, the show will plumb the depths of the most innate physical yearnings.

Artist Scot Sothern states: “LOWLIFE is an illustrated diary of dysfunction; the confessions of a befuddled baby-boomer maintaining a precarious connection to propriety and 
fatherhood while side-tripping into nourish infatuations. These stories and images, shot mostly in Southern California between 1986 and 1990 record the existence of the many disenfranchised Americans, men and women, hawking body 
and soul for the price of a Big Mac and a fix, struggling in a culture that deems them criminal and expendable.” Sothern’s images put a human face to the sex industry-one that defies judgment in the face of desperation, drug addiction, and instant sexual gratification. (Interview here).

Christina West’s figurations are depicted to be anatomically correct at a slightly smaller than normal scale. Their ghost like anonymity implies a level of dispassionate provocation. The highly charged erotic interplay forces the viewer to confront images of sexual arousal not often on display in the public forum.

Bart Johnson’s storied life is punctuated by a voyeuristic journey’s into the darkest realms of the human society. His visits to strip clubs and an interest in the marginalized members of society provide visual fodder for his endless array of eye-popping images. Johnson’s lurid, stream of conscious drawings push the viewer into a visual world of bizarre couplings. The graphic depictions are both repellent and disturbing-the idea of public sexual interactions as normative in a purgatory like environment references Hieronymus Bosch and the medieval notion of Hell. (Interview here).

Barbara DeGenevieve is the grand dame of erotica. Her ground-breaking, voyeuristic works reflect an independence and fearlessness in a world desperate to categorize and qualify. DeGenevieve reflects in her artist statement: “I have used sex as subject matter for more than 25 years in combinations of photographic images, videos, theoretical writings, and sexually explicit monologues. I often call my current work pornographic — when I don’t, I can always be sure someone else will. When I do, it becomes an unstable signifier. What does it mean for a middle-aged woman, a professor, a teacher of theory, a feminist – to write like this, to speak like this, to think these thoughts, to exhibit such bad behavior? I like playing with the vulgar, with the low-class, low-brow, language of traditional porn. I’m suspicious of distinctions that elevate erotica over porn as well as create incommensurability between art and pornography. I’m fascinated by what happens when private language and action enter the public domain, when vernacular “pornographic” vocabulary intersects with cultural analysis, when everything we believe about political correctness is subverted by intemperance, indulgence, desire out of control, and logical reasoning.

My work is not a critique, but rather an embracing of what has been vilified. It is also an acknowledgment of the ways in which pornography [locates/implicates] [me/us] in a realm of what Judith Butler has described as “psychic excess,” that which is systematically denied by the notion of the volitional subject. “The refusal to conflate the subject with the psyche marks the psychic as that which exceeds the domain of the conscious subject.” It is that realm of the unconscious she describes that that becomes so problematic, the consciously inaccessible that creates such turmoil because it compromises volition — what we think we are or what we’re told we should be. In a vain attempt to keep this excess under control, priests deny their obsession with little boys, evangelists with prostitutes, business executives with infantile humiliation fetishes, and feminists with rape fantasies. These are not accusations but rather recognition of the fact that fetishes, whether horrific or benign, become part of this psychic excess.”

Another young feminist striving to express an independent sexual spirit is Becky Flanders. Flanders often uses herself as subject, masking her face, so as to force the viewer to confront genitalia, and in some cases urination. Her uninhibited use of her own body as subject is a bold statement about freedom in sexual expression, and the ability to share it with an anonymous audience. Her spot on camera techniques provide a window into fetish like sexual practices and the viewer’s ability to digest them.

Explicit Content is show that explores raw human sexuality without apology. The works are provocative and dispassionate-a metaphor for the animal longings that are constantly at play within our society. Explicit Content opens Saturday, April 14, 6—8PM and will be on exhibition through May 19, 2012. Please note: we will be presenting material not suitable for young children and a XXX rating does apply. (Above, Bart Johnson).