On view through Sept. 7 is Tony Greene: Room of Advances, a posthumous survey of work by the late artist and CalArts alumnus Tony Greene (Art MFA 87) at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood.
The exhibit gathers more than two dozen of Greene’s paintings, all made in the three years before his death in 1990 at 35, from an AIDS-related illness. Included in the show is an installation comprising terra cotta tiles containing the obituaries of young men claimed by the epidemic, before antiretroviral drugs became available. Also included is a series of paintings wherein Greene uses photos of bucks, stags and men from physique pictorials as a base for elaborate oil-paint decorations.
“There is an immediate sort of sexual pulse to the work,” says co-curator Monica Majoli in an article in The Los Angeles Times. “The men’s mouths in some of those paintings are very sexual. It’s as if the work approaches you in a bodily way, in a sexual way.”
The pieces of art in Room of Advances come from a time when artists were investigating desire in relation to the immediacy of the AIDS crisis.
From a press release:
Unlike many gay artists at the time who reacted to the epidemic by framing their work solely as activism, [Greene] was able to keep that dire reality present in his work while foregrounding passion as something ongoing and alive. His paintings evoke an ever-present past—removed and romanticized in images that elicit desire viscerally, yet remain encased in veils of paint, barricaded behind ornament…. Curiously and poignantly, Greene manifests a longing for a past that was never known and a future that will never be.
Tony Greene: Room of Advances
June 18 through Sept. 7
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
835 N. Kings Rd., West Hollywood
Tickets: general $7, students/seniors $6