“Skill in portraiture is an instinct, it cannot be taught,” David Hockney said of the New York-based artist Larry Stanton.
It is this prevailing instinct that is currently being rediscovered, with a new exhibition at Soho’s The Artist Room entitled The Male Gaze: From Larry Stanton to Now. Showcasing a male-on-male gaze via the lens of an intergenerational group of young artists, artworks on display will date from the 1980s to the present. This will mark the first occasion in which Stanton’s work has been exhibited here in the UK, sitting alongside those of other genre-defining artists, including Kenneth Bergfeld, Jimmy DeSana, and Leon Pozniakow.
The group exhibition will feature a diverse range of introspective artworks, conveying not only how we can view ourselves through the eyes of others but more poignantly, an exploration of queer experience and love, and of the intolerance and rejection that is still experienced amongst LGBTQIA+ people today.
Stanton specifically conducted intimate portraits that documented his life as a gay man in New York between the 1960s-80s, before his untimely death in 1984 from AIDS-related illness. Some of his most famous works, including Untitled (n.d.), sit amid a unique and radical era of portraiture, immortalising both the liberation and struggle experienced post-Stonewall. The outcome is all the more evocative when located amongst the works of contemporary artists, producing a visual celebration of fleeting youth and desire, unexpected encounters, and physical empowerment.
‘The Male Gaze: From Larry Stanton to Now’ is now on display at The Artist Room until July 30, open Wednesday – Friday from 11am to 6pm and Saturday 12-4pm.