On September 28, 2022, The John Burton Harter Foundation will present a panel discussion at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (26 Wooster Street, New York, NY) to celebrate the release of A Tale of Two Cities: Patrick Angus in New York and J. B. Harter in New Orleans, an illustrated catalog showcasing the works of these two gay artists.
The panel will begin at 6 p.m., and a reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.
Complimentary copies of the catalog, with an essay by curator and art historian David S. Rubin, will be available for all attendees.
“Placing these two artists side-by-side helps show that even in the throes of the AIDS epidemic, the gay community remained a vibrant place where people lived and loved,” said Jack Sullivan, John Burton Harter Foundation Advisor.
Harter and Angus: An Idealist and A Realist
As one of New Orleans’ most prolific gay artists, Burt (as he was known to friends) Harter left behind a vast body of work. From the 1960s until his passing in 2002, Harter produced more than 3,000 drawings and paintings, largely in isolation, rarely exhibiting or sharing the work publicly due to its explicitly homosexual subject matter.
Full of fantasy and romance, Harter painted the idealized bodies of young, beautiful men. They luxuriate in leisure and assume classic poses found in art from ancient Greece to beefcake pinups of Bob Mizer. Harter had a long career as a curator at the Louisiana State Museum, where his attention to detail made him an expert custodian of that institution’s collections.
In New York City, Patrick Angus also created works in near isolation. Working in the 1980s, at a time when queer art had virtually no institutional support and art schools were deeply entrenched in conceptual post-minimalism, Angus painted the hustlers, go-go dancers, and patrons of New York’s strip clubs, peep shows, and bathhouses. Playwright Robert Patrick (Kennedy’s Children) called him “the Toulouse-Lautrec of Times Square.”
Angus’ bare, lonely, lust-filled works were greatly admired by such notables as Quentin Crisp and David Hockney, as well as Harter himself. However, his meager sales found him living in low-rent apartments most of his career. Like Harter, his work was rarely exhibited or studied in his own lifetime. He passed away in 1992 from AIDS-related complications.
The relevance of Harter and Angus has grown as today’s curators dismantle the exclusionary canon of the past to include previously overlooked stories, styles, and sensibilities.
About the Panelists
The evening’s panel will include Esther McGowan, Gio Black Peter, and Corey Serrant. Dan Cameron will moderate the event.
Esther McGowan is the Executive Director of Visual AIDS and was Associate Director from 2012 to 2017. She is responsible for overseeing all of the New York-based organization’s publications, programs, fundraising, and partnerships. She has worked with a variety of arts organizations over three decades, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Watermill Center, Arts International, Art Matters, Center for Fiction, Alliance for the Arts, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Gio Black Peter is a Guatemala-born, New York City-based visual and performance artist. While modern in approach—often using technology to offer a multimedia-fueled commentary on current events—his art is rooted to the past. His visual work has a Paul Gauguin style, where the everyday and the natural fuse with a dreamlike sense of the fantastic. Peter’s body of work reveals how beauty and vitality can be found in celebrating life outside the mainstream. Selected exhibitions include the 30th International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, Galerie L’axolotl in Toulon, Palais de Tokyo and Library of Arts in Paris, Envoy Enterprises in New York, and the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles, among others.
Corey Serrant is an Associate Director at Eric Firestone Gallery, where he researches and liaises with artist estates. Serrant is also enrolled in the master’s program in art history at CUNY City College of New York, focusing on African American art and art theory. He interned at 303 Gallery and Jack Shainman Gallery, as well as worked for Salon 94 and the Swann Auction Galleries African American art department. He’s a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and holds a B.A. in Art History.
Dan Cameron is a New York City-based art curator who writes, teaches, consults, and gives lectures on art. Throughout his year career, Cameron has championed the unexpected and the under-recognized. In 1982, he was the first American curator to organize a museum exhibition on LGBTQ art, and in 2008 he launched the Prospect New Orleans triennial in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He has curated international biennials in Istanbul, Taipei, Ecuador, and Orange County, California, as well as retrospectives of such esteemed artists as Carolee Schneemann, Paul McCarthy, Peter Saul, William Kentridge, Faith Ringgold, David Wojnarowicz, Marcel Odenbach, Pierre et Gilles, Cildo Meireles, and Martin Wong.
Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Location: Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, 26 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013