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Gary Artists of the 70's and early 80's

Click to view larger image in new windowThe militant gay movement of the late 1960's and the 1970's was as much a cultural as a political phenomenon. Magazines like San Francisco's Gay Sunshine and Milwaukee's GPU News featured poetry and art. In New York City, site of the Stonewall riots in mid-1969, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Patrick and Doric Wilson were writing plays with gay themes, for gay audiences. Gay theater companies like Hot Peaches, TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence) and the Glines, and gay art galleries like Stompers and the Leslie-Lohman Gallery sprang up. Gay artists like Tava, Keith Haring and David Wojnarowitz experimented with new forms of street art and graffiti.

The four very different artists in our show all flourished during and shortly after the Gay Liberation period (1968 - 1981).

Faerie Swarm on Christopher Street, 1989.
Photo by Ian Young

Sidney Smith

Sidney Smith (b. 1950) was living in New York City in the 1970's, working for the independent radio station WBAI. Through his Dragonfly Press, he published a number of small books of black and white drawings, some forming brief, textless stories. Most of his work shows children, adolescents, angels and benign beings from other worlds in attitudes of wonder, innocence and affection. His art harks back to great black and white illustrators of earlier times, including Blake, Beardsley, Ralph Chubb, Lynd Ward, Rockwell Kent and the comic book artists of the 1950's and '60's. A selection of his drawings was published in 1992 by Entimos Press in Amsterdam.

Three drawings by Sidney Smith

Sid Smith in the mid-1970's
photo by Ian Young


Ralph Hall (1945 - 1988) lived in New York City during the 1970's with his lover and "spiritual brother" Bob "Flash" Storm. Using an old electric stencil-maker and a hand-cranked Gestetner machine, they produced the multi-colored, underground gay "fagazines" Gay Post, Ain't It Da Truth and Faggots on Faggotry, which they sold and gave away on the street. Hall was self-taught, his art influenced by the psychedelic designs of the 1960's and the emerging gay movement.

Three drawings by Ralph Hall

Ralph Hall in the mid-1970's
photo by Ian Young

Ralph Hall


Jesse Murry

Jesse Murry (1948 - 1993) was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and studied at Sarah Lawrence and Yale. He lived in SoHo and later in the West Village with his lover George Centanni. Working in watercolours, encaustic, oils and oil crayons, Murry was a poetic visionary committed to rendering the spiritual forces behind earthly beauty. His favorite painters included Turner, Constable, Delacroix, Cézanne, Picasso, Mark Rothko and Casper David Friederich.

Three paintings by Jesse Murry
 
Jesse Murry in 1992


Bastille (1929 - 1990) was born in Hackensack, New Jersey on 14th July (Bastille Day). An adopted child, he grew up in Westwood, N.J. He spent much of his life in Europe where he worked as a fashion illustrator and professional architectural draftsman. In the early 1980's he took the name "Bastille" and began creating gouache paintings of skinhead-type men inhabiting a fantasy world of sleazy, underground sexuality. The paintings shown here originally appeared in the Swedish magazines Toy and Mr. SM.

NOTE: This gallery includes sexually-themed
images that may not be suitable for all viewers.

Three paintings by Bastille

Bastille


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