An archive on the artist Tony Greene (1955 - 1990).
Commentary by Richard Hawkins unless noted otherwise.
"BEST SHOW-WITHIN-A-SHOW: "Tony Greene: Amid Voluptuous Calm." The show-within-a-show conceit can get irritating pretty fast, making a museum exhibition feel like an erratic art fair rather than a considered look at the art of an age. But this thoughtful tribute to the California artist who died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 at the tender age of 35 feels just right in this moment. Organized by David Frantz, curator at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives here in L.A., the exhibition places Greene’s paintings — of vintage male pin-ups obscured by natural motifs and other patterns — among the work of his peers.
The exhibition takes us back to the gut-wrenching early days of the AIDS epidemic, when the waves of death among gay men were treated largely with institutional indifference. Doug Hammett’s curious log terrarium contains HIV-positive blood and Judie Bamber’s 1989 canvas of a goldfish out of water is acerbically titled “Oh Come on, It Doesn’t Hurt That Much.” A hair sculpture by Millie Wilson could be a drag queen’s out-of-scale wig or a stand-in for a body that is no longer with us.”