Critics’ Picks

View of “Lukas Duwenhögger: You Might Become a Park,” 2016.


Lukas Duwenhögger

Raven Row
56 Artillery Lane
June 30–September 18, 2016

This is a big, museum-survey-style exhibition, long overdue. Lukas Duwenhögger is of course best known for his oil paintings, rendered in mustardy, muted pastels that never overstate, exercises in high kitsch that simultaneously operate as postcolonial takes on Firbankian faggotry, with cultural references to Duwenhögger’s adopted homeland of Turkey often woven in. In Garten am See (Lakeside Garden), 1995, a smartly dressed man leans against a tree on a hill, staring seductively outward at the viewer. Coming up the path behind him is a mustachioed man, who cruises him with a languishing stare. On the water, a man in a red bathing suit standing in a boat can be discerned pondering this scene on the shore. Cruise and/or be cruised: For Duwenhögger, it is looking—that is, the desirous glances men inadvertently exchange when they pass each other in banal situations—that ultimately conceals queerness, and is thus the most heavily sexual act of all.

Many of the artist’s excursions into other media are represented here as well, such as a model of his proposal for the homo holocaust memorial in Berlin, The Celestial Teapot, 2007—an endless wraparound viewing tower, from which visitors could presumably observe all the action in the notorious cottaging zone of the Tiergarten, culminating in a teapot with a limp human wrist for a handle—a typically Duwenhöggerian gesture—dementedly queer and queerly demented.