Tag Archives: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

CIRCUS OF BOOKS AT FIERMAN

“Growing up, I always assumed every store had an over-18 section. It was only when I got older that I realized my parents were in the business of hardcore gay porn. This was a completely strange thing for me, because this was not the world I knew to be of my parents: straight-laced, boring, and in my mom’s case, religious. The world of sexual deviants, gender nonconforming transgressives and weirdos, that was my world, not theirs…

“And yet, it took me leaving Los Angeles for over a decade to fully comprehend what a massive role their two Circus of Books stores served for the community. It took making a documentary film to realize that they had nurtured a second family to the family they had at home. They had carved out their own special place as trusted shop owners who never judged anyone who showed up in their surreptitious aisles, even as the rest of the world cast down condemnation, to say nothing of other parents at our school. As the store was closing last week, a Vietnam veteran walked through the doors and stood, unmoving in front of the register. My mom had protested against Vietnam, and she proceeded to tell him how terrible the Vietnam War was, and he looked at her and said, ‘Thank you. This store is part of my history, and some of the best years of my life happened here.’ ” — Rachel Mason, producer and director, Circus of Books*

The original Circus of Books—called “Book Circus”—opened in West Hollywood in 1967, followed by the Silver Lake location at Sunset Junction. An exhibition celebrating the communal culture and backrooms of Karen and Barry Mason‘s adults-only emporiums—fifty years of getting off—is now on view in Manhattan.

The show—curated by David Fierman with Rachel Mason—features artwork by Wilder Alison, Ron Athey, Adam Baran, Bengala, Erik Bergrin, Michael Bilsborough, Raynes Birkbeck, Seth Bogart, Chris Bogia, Kathe Burkhart, Deric Carner, Chivas Clem, Scott Covert, Vaginal Davis, Anne Doran, Thomas Dozol, Zackary Drucker, Ruben Esparza, Tom of Finland, Karen Finley, Benjamin Fredrickson, ektor garcia, Mariah Garnett, Mark Golamco, Jeff Grant, Michelle Handelman, Charles Hovland, Scott Hug, David Hurles, Stephen Irwin, William E. Jones, Wayne Koestenbaum, Mike Kuchar, Bruce LaBruce, Dawn Mellor, Lucas Michael, Billy Miller, Bob Mizer, David Mramor, Narcissister, Dominic Nurre, Mel Ottenberg, Jack Pierson, Breyer P-Orridge, Pre-Echo Press, Fay Ray, Mariah Robertson, Dean Sameshima, Stuart Sandford, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Margie Schnibbe, Michael Stipe, Chris E. Vargas, Mark Verabioff, Jan Wandrag, Karlheinz Weinberger, Jimmy Wright, and Dorian Wood.

CIRCUS OF BOOKS*

Through May 6.

Fierman

127 Henry Street, New York City.

From top: Vaginal Davis, Ascyltos of the Satyricon, 2016, ink on paper; Dominic Nurre, Vale of Cashmere Head, 2017–19, coconut shell, coconut oil, salt lick, and acrylic; David Mramor, Pink Star, 2019, oil, acrylic, and inkjet on canvas; Wayne Koestenbaum, David at Leisure, 2019, oil and graphite on canvas paper; Lucas Michael, G5CR, 2017, neon; Dawn Mellor, Southend Beach, 2013, oil, Tipp-ex, and marker pen on linen; Jimmy Wright, Griffith Park, LA, 1973, graphite and charcoal on graph paper; Seth Bogart, Faggots, 2019, ceramic; Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, circa 1980s–1990s, pencil, pens, felt pens, and ink on paper; Scott Hug, Untitled (STH_PW_003), 2018, collage; Jeff Grant, Snow and Holes, 2018, archival inkjet print, staples, and clearlay; Karen Finley, dickless, 2018, ink on paper. Images courtesy the artists and Fierman gallery. Special thanks to David Fierman and Rachel Mason.

FIRE AT BABY COMPANY

“Every time I enter a new room I scan for other queers. Maybe it’s a hunt for fleeting solidarity, maybe safety—not that the two are opposed. I didn’t know I did this until I didn’t have to, when I arrived in a place—[Fire Island]—where queer and its variants was the baseline. It is a profound experience, one I will never take for granted, even as I know the exclusions it enacts.

“This is a very personal show, in the sense that it has no pretensions of thoroughness or coherence. A series of friendships and encounters organized around a shared experience of finding one’s place. Just some people inhabiting a tiny speck of the world and—to borrow a phrase by Douglas Crimp, another friend from the island—misfitting together.” — Ryan McNamara*

McNamara brings Fire Island to Manhattan with a new exhibition of work by Travis BoyerJack BruscaTM DavyRaúl de NievesNicole EisenmanK8 HardyKia LabeijaMatthew LeifheitHanna LidenTiffany MalakootiSamuel RoeckPaul Mpagi SepuyaDevan ShimoyamaA.L. SteinerWolfgang TillmansCajsa von Zeipel, and himself.

FIRE*

Through April 14.

Baby Company

73 Allen Street, New York City.

*”Misfitting together” is a quote from Popism: The Warhol Sixties, by Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett (1980), referenced by Douglas Crimp in his book “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), 157, note 29:

“I [Warhol] was reflecting that most people thought the Factory was a place where everybody had the same attitudes about everything; the truth was, we were all odds-and-ends misfits, somehow misfitting together.”

From top: Ryan McNamara, Cemical Compound (6/8/2018), 2019, wood, plaster, paint, psilocybin, amyl nitrate, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, Truvada; Wolfgang Tillmans, Far away inside (Echo Beach), 2017, inkjet print; Matthew Leifheit; Meat Rack Gathering, 2018, dye sublimation print on aluminum; Nicole Eisenman and Tiffany Malakooti, Remarkable Lesbian Chess Set, 2016, clay, wood, and paint; A.L. Steiner, Untitled (Rachel on bay, Pines), 2016–2019; Fire installation view with K8 Hardy‘s jockstrap collection—Look Pines, 2016, fiberglass mannequin, metal base, cloth, enamel paint, synthetic wig—in foreground; Devan Shimoyama, Untitled, 2015–2018, dye-sublimation print on aluminum (2); Cajsa von Zeipel, Boy’s Tears, 2019, styrofoam, fiberglass, aqua resin, plaster; Travis Boyer, Le Fountain, 2019, embellished and dyed wool blanket on beeswax, wood, and steel frame; Jack Brusca, Pines Pavilion Logo, 1980, acrylic on canvas; Kia LaBeija, New Legend Lucky 007 on Fire Island, 2018, digital inkjet print.

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA AT TEAM

The work of Paul Mpagi Sepuya can be seen on both coasts this spring, with a solo show at Team Gallery and a joint exhibition with Sheree Hovsepian at Team Bungalow.

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA—THE CONDITIONS

Through April 13.

Team Gallery

83 Grand Street, New York City.

SHEREE HOVSEPIAN and PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA

Through April 21.

Team Bungalow

306 Windward Avenue, Venice Beach.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, The Conditions, from top: Mirror Study (0X5A7394); A Portrait (0X5A8325); Drop Scene (0X5A8165). Sheree Hovsepian and Paul Mpagi Sepuya, from top: Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Portrait Study (_1980812); Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Darkroom Mirror (_2100693). Images courtesy the artist and Team Gallery.

GRACE WALES BONNER

The public presentation of MUMBO JUMBOGrace Wales Bonner’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection that shares a title with Ismael Reed’s revolutionary 1972 novel—will conclude A TIME FOR NEW DREAMS, Wales Bonner’s exhibition at the Serpentine.

Throughout this final week of the show, the dancer and performance artist Michael-John Harper will take residence within the gallery and perform a daily ritual of movements.

Exploring “magical resonances within black cultural and aesthetic practices” through improvised installations and shrines, A TIME FOR NEW DREAMS also incorporates the work of Chino AmobiBlack Audio Film Collective, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, David Hammons, Michael-John Harper, Liz Johnson Artur, Rashid Johnson, Kapwani Kiwanga, Klein, Laraaji, Eric N. Mack, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ben Okri, Ishmael Reed, Sahel Sounds, and Wales Bonner.

GRACE WALES BONNER—A TIME FOR NEW DREAMS

Through February 16.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery

West Carriage Drive, Hyde Park, London.

Exhibition booklet.

From top: Eric N. Mack, Capital Heights, 2019, in Grace Wales Bonner—A Time for New Dreams, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, 2019; Rashid Johnson, Untitled (daybed 1), 2012; Wales Bonner; Grace Wales Bonner, Everything’s for RealLiz Johnson Artur, There is only one…one, 2019. Images courtesy the artists and the Serpentine Galleries.

GROUNDINGS

GROUNDINGS, organized by Grace Deveney and Tara Aisha Willis, explores movement—seen and unseen—through a series of residencies with artists who work in dance, music, and performance art. The exhibition considers the reciprocal influence between bodies in motion and the invisible forces that govern movement, such as gravity, time, and electricity.

Over the run of GROUNDINGS, performers will hold open rehearsals in which they create performances and physical objects that speak to the themes of the exhibition.

GROUNDINGS artists include Katinka Bock, Blythe Bohnen, George Brecht, John Cage, Martin Soto Climent, Julia Dault, JimmyDeSana, Jonas Dovydenas, Adam EkbergWhit Forrester, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rashid Johnson, IsaacJulien, Annette Kelm, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Jack Pierson, Stan Shellabarger, Nancy Spero, Dannielle Tegeder, CarrieMae Weems, and James Welling.

GROUNDINGS

Through May 12.

MCA Chicago

220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago.

From top:

John CageA Dip in the Lake: Ten Quicksteps, Sixty-two Waltzes, and Fifty-six Marches for Chicago and Vicinity, 1978. Felt-tip pen on map. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. © 1993 John Cage TrustPhotograph © MCA Chicago.

Annette KelmUntitled, 2012. Chromogenic development print. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Jimmy De SanaCowboy Boots, 1984. Vintage cibachrome. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Courtesy of the JimmyDe Sana Trust and Salon 94, New York.

Rashid Johnson, Multiple Consciousness, 2010. Gelatin silver print. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. © 2010 RashidJohnsonPhotograph by Nathan Keay© MCA Chicago.