Tony Greene: Amid Voluptuous Calm

Part of Made in L.A. 2014
Hammer Museum
June 15 – September 7, 2014

Between roughly 1987 and his death in 1990, Tony Greene produced a body of lavishly intricate paintings using oil and glaze applied in thick layers that both protect and conceal a photographic image, often of a vintage male pinup. Shamelessly decadent visual objects, Greene’s paintings were a conscientious departure from the position of many peers, who responded to the ravages of the AIDS epidemic with better-known activist and conceptual strategies.

Since his death from complications of AIDS in 1990, Greene’s work has gone largely unrecognized. This year marks the first time his work has been exhibited since 1995.

Tony Greene: Amid Voluptuous Calm seeks to excavate Greene’s oeuvre, placing it in dialogue with other queer artists in Los Angeles whose work similarly tackled issues of desire, mortality, and trauma. This concise “show-within-a-show” only hints at the numerous ways visual art, poetry, activism, performance, and S&M converged, and how notions of queerness—a term just making its way into the lexicon—informed artistic production for a community of artists.

Featuring projects by Greene, Ron Athey, Judie Bamber, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, Doug Hammett, Doug Ischar, Monica Majoli, Millie Wilson, and the zine Infected Faggot Perspectives (produced by W. Wayne Karr and Cory Roberts-Auli), alongside documents and ephemera, the conceptual and aesthetic approaches presented are diverse. Sensual, devotional, honorific, and darkly humorous, the works featured in Amid Voluptuous Calm insist on unabashed queerness in the face of mortality.

Find more information about this show-within-a-show here.

Selected Press

Thomas Lawson, “On Site: Made in L.A. 2014,”Artforum 53, no. 2 (October 2014).

Christopher Knight, “Art Review: Biennial bounty; There are fewer artists this time, but Hammer's 'Made in L.A. 2014' survey still captures the freshness of creative expression,” Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2014.

Carolina Miranda,“'Made in L.A.' best in show: 5 must-see pieces at the Hammer biennial,” Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2014.

Tony Greene,  Untitled (U), 1989. Mixed media (oil on photo mounted on board), 28.5 x 32.5 in. (72.39 x 82.55 cm). Courtesy of Ray Morales, from the estate of Norm MacNeil

Installation views of Tony Greene: Amid Voluptuous Calm, part of Made in L.A. 2014. Photos by Brian Forrest. Courtesy of the Hammer Museum