reviews

Gilbert & George

Lehmann Maupin/Sonnabend Gallery

The reigning queer couple of the art world, Gilbert & George have flaunted their X-rated passions in enormously celebratory and occasionally shocking photographic tableaux for three decades, since long before “identity politics” coalesced as a movement or homoeroticism in contemporary art achieved critical mass and garnered scholarly attention. The shameless British pair—incongruously conservative-looking middle-aged white guys—take much inspiration from the vitality of ethnic street culture in East London, the grounded comings and goings of day-to-day life in their Whitechapel neighborhood, and the smiling faces of the beautiful young boys who repeatedly adorn their art.

Gilbert & George’s brand of pop social studies is refracted through the lens of their own desire, fear, pleasure, and pain—nothing appears sanitized or held back. As self-portraiture bordering on full-blown narcissism,

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