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Aug
23rd

Patrick Angus: Voyeur

Aug 23rd • (All day) • Long Beach Museum of Art

“Twenty three years after Stonewall, [LBGT] people still have few honest images of themselves, and most of those occur in our literature. Gay men long to see themselves – in films, plays, televisions, paintings. They seldom do. Obviously, we must picture ourselves. These are my pictures.”1 American artist Patrick Angus (b. 1953 – d. 1992) once replied to a question he was asked while his first monograph, Strip Show – Paintings by Patrick Angus (1992) was being published: why would the gay community endorse such depictions of their world? Angus’ uncompromising response discloses a distinctive shift in his subject matter and
artistic practice, which was fueled by his own experiences during the last years of his life.

The Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA) is pleased to present Patrick Angus: Voyeur, the highly anticipated survey of the artist, featuring over 100 works that span nearly 20
years. The exhibition is the first comprehensive American museum presentation of Angus’ work on the West Coast.

Born in 1953 in North Hollywood and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, Angus started painting at an early age, taking private art lessons from a portrait artist at the age of 13. He continued to study art throughout his adolescent years, observing and learning about the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Richard Diebenkorn from his teachers. One of the most influential artists was David Hockney, specifically a body of work published in the book, 72 Drawings by David Hockney (1971) that Angus had discovered as a student at the Santa Barbara Art Institute in 1974. Enticed by Hockney’s “sexual persona” and the glittering Hollywood gay scene depicted in the artist’s work, Angus left the Institute and headed south to Los Angeles.

Between the years of 1975 and 1979, amidst the sun-drenched odd jobs he would find in L.A., the figure drawing workshops he would attend with other “realist” artist friends, Angus, determined to capture the “the gay life he knew,” created a suite of diverse pencil drawings. Works such as “David Saying Hello” and “Untitled (Five Standing Figures) 3/23/79 from 1979” offer a unique glimpse into the artist’s observations of everyday life in Los Angeles, at times depicting myth-driven narratives vis-à- vis the emerging modern gay culture. Angus’ portrayal of male nudes as shown in, “Untitled (Man, Woman, Dog on Beach), 2/13/79,” embodies a sense of sexual liberation embedded within the artist’s version of the everyday.

Angus would continue his quest to create and deliver “gay art.” The urge to see the 1980 exhibition, Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective, at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) prompted his move to New York, where he was able to further expand on his subject matter and push forward in developing a visual language uniquely his own. In the wake of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, the ways in which sexuality was perceived were radicalized throughout America as LGBT activists called for the reimagining of society. For Angus, experiencing the extraordinary scope of Picasso’s retrospective at MOMA was pivotal for his creative practice.

His intimate nude male-to-male relations were beginning to develop as a recurring theme in his work. Douglas Blaire Turnbaugh, who published the first monograph, writes in his essay, “Picasso demonstrates that anything can be depicted. For Patrick Angus, Picasso is the
ultimate realist.”  Propelled by Picasso’s innovative ability to visually illustrate his sexual biography, Angus depicted the dark interiors of the gay hustler bars and portrayed their participants, realistically and expressively, leaving nothing out as an anonymous
spectator. As just another face in the crowd, remaining virtually unknown was crucial for the artist; being seen with a sketchbook or camera would have been too conspicuous. Instead, he would return to his studio and make virtuosic use of his memory and imagination to sketch his subjects that he would reference later for his paintings.

In one of his earliest works made in New York, titled “Material World, 1981,” Angus not only demonstrates his technical abilities in composition and expressive use of color, but also his surveilling yet compassionate ability to capture the harsh and isolated presence
of the male dancer, stripped of any provocative allure by the unwavering bright stage lights. Between the years 1980 to 1992, Angus’ preoccupation with his subject matter led him to frequent the Gaiety Male Burlesk, gay cinemas, bathhouses, other venues, and would reappear as dominant themes throughout his work. He spent his remaining years in New York embarking on “the most fertile period of his creative development as a painter.”

His work was presented in solo exhibitions during the last months of his life and “Strip Show – Paintings by Patrick Angus” was just getting proofed. In 1992, Angus died from complications related to AIDS. Over two decades after his death, international appreciation of the artist’s densely poetic body of work unfolds. Angus’ work has been exhibited in numerous organizations worldwide, including the Museum Bensheim, Bensheim, Germany;
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany; Galerie Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart, Germany; Fort Smith Art Museum, Fort Smith, AR; and Edward Cella Art Architecture, Los Angeles, CA. The artist’s estate is represented by Galerie Thomas Fuchs in Germany.

Organized by Museum Executive Director Ron C. Nelson, Patrick Angus: Voyeur will be on view from May 17 – September 8, 2019 in the Hartman Pavilion Galleries. “Bob Mizer: Vintage Physique,” an exhibition of work by American photographer and filmmaker, Bob Mizer will concurrently be on view in the Lane Oceanview Gallery.

The Museum’s Hartman Pavilion, Galleries and the Museum Store are open Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors age 62 and older, free for Members and children under 12.

Admission is free for everyone on Thursday evening from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and half price admission all day Friday. Claire’s at the Museum restaurant is open Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more
information, please call (562) 439-2119 or visit www.lbma.org.

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