Tuesday, June 28, 2022


At the edge of the Atlantic, a slip of land, open ocean all the way to the horizon and beyond, as fragile as a sand castle between high tides. Paths through the underbrush of a gay cruising ground, seeking to find and to be found in the safety of invisibility. 

Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)

Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)

Larry Wolf, Fire Island (2004)

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Desire Lines - The Gaps

 ... the gaps -- the information that is absent, overlooked, or rendered invisible ...  Igshaan Adams

Larry Wolf,
Desire Lines Exhibition Catalog
on display in the Art Institute Gift Shop

What is the artist's desire? 

In the exhibition, Desire Lines, there is a richness of layering

woven surfaces with depth of material

manufactured surfaces worn through the activity of lives lived

geographies traversed one step at a time across terrain with no official path

structures draped in fabric

the work of teams sharing meals, sharing stories, sharing their lives

the visual echos of clouds of dust 

the placement of works in an exhibition 

It is all abstract except for two roses at opposite ends of the gallery, facing each other, an early bloom and a later bloom, symbols of the divine present in our lives, a reminder of the thorns present with beauty.

Knowing Everything or Nothing 

How would you treat someone differently if you knew everything about them? Or nothing?  Igshaan Adams

The exhibition catalogue is explosive in its specifics where the exhibition leaves so much unnamed. 

It overflows with the words of queer artists, beginning and ending with poems by Ocean Vuong. The opening essay  A World, Revealed identifies the artist as a queer Muslim man. The acknowledgments thank his life partner. There is an essay by a queer imam. And more. 

What do we know of the lives of these people? What are their specific joys and fears? What lines do they make across the landscape of their lives? Of our lives?

Visible and Hidden

Does it matter that we put labels on ourselves? On other people? Does it matter how the artist lives or only how the art lands in us, the viewer, the museum goer, the art collector? Do the wall texts and catalogue essays enrich the experience? Or take us away from the experience?

Does the artist,  the contributing writers, curators, put their lives at risk by being public? Are they being honored by this visibility? Do they have freedom in the world of the exhibition that they do not have at home?

Igshaan Adams, I was a hidden treasure, then I wanted to be known ... (2016)
at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

This work emerges from two questions I faced earlier in my career: How do I represent myself (a metaphorical and also literal concern, as I am a Muslim and Islam's visual tradition prohibits figuration)? And what is the role of creativity in my practice? The analogy of water came to me, especially how, over time, dripping water brings forth moss, which grows and expands. This is how creativity operates, too. Everything is connected to and emerges from its energy. You cannot remove yourself from it, whether it's making a sandwich, putting together an outfit, or producing an artwork. I approached this work through that analogy of water and moss and started to visualize the creation process that surrounds us all through the texture of landscape.
Igshaan Adams, 
I was a hidden treasure, then I wanted to be known, 
Art Institute of Chicago exhibition text (2022)

The Exhibition


The Exhibition Catalogue



Sunday, June 12, 2022

Physical Culture

Larry Wolf, Physical Culture (2022)

I'm taking an online art history class from the Barnes Foundation: Sexuality and the Modern Male Body taught by Ty Vanover. This week's talk is London: Victorian Sculpture and the Virile Male Nude with a suggested reading by Michael Hatt, “Physical Culture: the Male Nude and Sculpture in Late Victorian Britain.”

Physical Culture is alive and well. It wasn't just a late 19th/early 20th Century phenomena - the muscular male body was seen as normative, wholesome and presumed heterosexual. While some of us (that would be me), counter this through a queer lens, the muscular male body is sexual and can be viewed as such. It is also a myth-busting reality that manly men can be gay just as femme men can be heterosexual. 

Which is to say nothing about this moving company, other than to smile at the continued pairing of mind and body.

Note that H. U. N. K. S. is an acronym for Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgeable, Service. A continued redirection from the sexual to the intellectual.  https://www.collegehunkshaulingjunk.com/