In the run-up to Pride Month, the news cycle was dominated by an outcry against mainstream brands’ supposed advocacy of queer causes. This cultural upheaval seems inevitable given the corporatization of Pride, hollow marketing gestures and misdirected virtue signals. At least we have some great art shining the light at the end of the tunnel of bad beer and big box stores.

Here’s a selection of cool queer-centric shows currently playing in New York. They’re all devoid of rainbows – most just happen during Pride month and represent a wide spectrum from high art to childishness.

For a varied gallery exploration that takes you from downtown to Brooklyn, be diligent and check them all out in one day!

purple prose” To Marianne Boesky Gallery

John Burtle, High tide where/and there are so many things, (2023) Copyright © John Burtle. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.

There’s more than meets the eye in most of the pieces featured on the group show “Purple Prose.” Chez Felix Beaudry Mother Glob and the Lazy Boy, two knitted grotesques lie in a state of laziness on a hideous Archie Bunker sofa from the 1970s – it is a work that first entertains, before becoming unsettling. Elsewhere, at Borna Sammak Glück is a haunting still life of a chalice overflowing with vines and flora on black canvas, expertly crafted by combining leftover beach towels and embroidery. On closer inspection, Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s turgid oil abstraction has a hopeful glow of a shiny band encrusted with glass beads. John Burtle’s intricate red-ink fantasy is full of storytelling.

Curated by Kory Trolio, the exhibition at the Marianne Boesky gallery is queer in the modern sense of the term: the transgressions lean more towards psychological reverie than blatant sexuality, and the definition of queer is really nondescript. The show goes from ruminative in one round to brutal in the next. Its title, “Purple Prose”, is derived from a term describing an overly embellished style of writing. In this sense, the drama is what connects the exhibited works.

The gallery also deserves a special Bud Light toast and props to serve wieners and fudgsicles at the opening!

The collective exhibition “Purple Prose” is presented at the Marianne Boesky Gallery, 509 West 24th Street, New York.

Juan Pablo Echeverri”lost identity” To james fuentes

Juan Pablo Echeverri, detail from the miss fotojapón series, 1998-2022.  © The Estate of Juan Pablo Echeverri, courtesy of James Fuentes, New York and Between Bridges, Berlin.

Juan Pablo Echeverri, detail from the series miss fotojapan, 1998-2022. © The Estate of Juan Pablo Echeverri, courtesy of James Fuentes, New York and Between Bridges, Berlin.

The show’s apt title translates to “Lost Identity,” and the Colombian artist specialized in the conscious loss of sound, happily hopscotching between characters. The centerpiece is a portion of miss fotojapan, Echeverri’s 24-year-old opus, a series of daily self-portraits that began in a photo booth and then continued with cellphone documentation. The project was prematurely terminated when the artist died in 2022 due to malaria at age 43.

But like Echeverri’s artistic practice, the exhibition is not so much a requiem as a celebration. His tongue-in-cheek video work – an assortment of these pieces on the gallery’s lower level – is particularly exuberant. In the 2009 gem vacationGaythe viewer encounters a proliferating gay beach with archetypes (all played by Echeverri, of course) frolicking in the waves, in lip sync to Madonna’s “Holiday.”

The exhibition (organized jointly with a branch of Wolfgang Tillmans’ project space between the bridges in Berlin, Germany) confirms that Echeverri was not just a distinct voice, but a one-man choir.

“Identidad Perdida” by Juan Pablo Echeverri is on view through July 28 at James Fuentes, 55 Delancey Street, NY.

“Obsessions” by Silvia Prada, with Coco Capitán, at the Viso Project

Silvia Prada, Cahier d'Ombres, set of three.  Courtesy of the artist.

Silvia Prada, Notebook of Shadows, set of three (2022). Courtesy of the artist.

Spanish artists Silvia Prada And Coco Captain have teamed up for a sexy 1990s pop culture interlude that isn’t so much a campy mish-mash as it is an encapsulation of the gay male mindset of that era.

It’s also autobiographical. “I’ve never consumed lesbian culture the way other lesbians have,” Prada says, her aesthetic always a laser-guided missile of what gay men want. “My cultural identity is more that of a gay man. I grew up in my father’s men’s barber shop and around male beauty. I socialized around gay men and that’s the culture I consumed.

The exhibition consists of collages and illustrations, punctuated with photographic embellishments by Capitán. The specter of Calvin Klein hovers. There are Obsession smuggled goods and a porcelain replica of the signature soap bar of the quintessential 1990s perfume – the latter, an edition of 30, was Prada’s first foray into sculpture. There are also 12 delicate drawings of Princess Diana. How does she fit into all these sultry events?

“In the 90s, she dressed gay and she was rebellious,” says Prada. “She was reacting to society. I was so into her look with the chunky sweaters, jeans and biker shorts. She made me feel gay. She was so strange and feminine at the same time. He hooked up with Madonna Sex book and stuff that I was consuming at the time and I was like, “Okay, that turns me on.”

“Obsessions” by Silvia Prada is on view at Viso Project, 46 Pearl Street Brooklyn, NY 11201.

“Brontez Purnell”Anti Alter Ego” To Trotter & Sholer

An installation view of “Anti-Alter Ego” by Bronze Purnell. Courtesy of Trotter & Sholer.

“Cancel me?!?!?!?!? LOL – HOW BITCH!?!?!?” legends one of the tamers works in PurelThe debut art exhibit of , which is tantamount to stepping into an immersive version of a Xeroxed black-and-white punk zine. Purnell, an accomplished musician, choreographer and writer, brings his wacky DIY sensibility to any medium he dabbles in. a color photographic self-portrait. There is no nihilism in his anarchy.

Purnell combined her diverse creative talents for a performance on opening night, which featured the artist writhing naked in a pile of paper. On July 6, a cinematographic component, 100 Boyfriends Mixtape (a companion to his 2022 hysterical transgressive novel 100 boyfriends) will be screened at Performance Space New York and is, predictably, not for the faint of heart.

Brontez Purnell’s “Anti-Alter Ego” is on view through July 8 at Trotter & Sholer, 168 Suffolk Street, NY.

A neighborhood defined: streets, sex and survival” To 401

Lynsey Addario, Untitled (1999). Courtesy of A defined district: streets, sex and survival.

Before the High Line, the Standard, and gentrification in New York City, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District was the nexus between the transgender sex trade and the city’s queer nightlife scenes in the 1980s and 1990s. where heading to the wild west meant going over 9e Avenue and West 14e Street. “A District Defined” is a poignant visual document of this moment in history, drawn from the photographs of Lynsey Addario, Lola Flash, Jill Freedman, Efrain Gonzalez, TL Litt, Catherine McGann, Katsu Anita and Joseph Rodriguez.

This particular period of the district is in fashion at the moment. (He’s a character in his own right in the new HBO series The walk documentary.) Downtown’s once-maligned last red light district and its after-hours residents (many of whom had no choice but to be there during that era’s dismal work climate for trans people) are now viewed with a more empathetic mindset. We are lucky that the photographers present are there not only to capture the decadence, but also the grace.

“A District Defined: Streets, Sex, and Survival” is on view through July 9 at 401 West 14th Street, NY.

Isaac Peifer, Caitlyn Jenner smokes a cigarette outside Malibu Beach House (2023). Courtesy of THNK1994 Museum.

Peifer began painting in 2019 and specializes in rendering pop culture icons that saturate the airwaves and scroll fate – the kind of people you wish you had never heard of – in oil on canvas. His terrifying and prescient rogues gallery consists of goblins from the LGBTQIA+ news cycle like the Canadian store professor with the Z-Cup boobs and the non-binary nuclear waste/baggage thief guru.

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