los-angeles

Gary Lee Boas

Karyn Lovegrove Gallery

Gary Lee Boas’s photograph In front of Badlands at the corner of Christopher and West Street (all works undated, from the series “New York Sex,” 1979–85) shows a rainbow coalition of male types on a sunny day at the intersection of gay and gay: gym bunnies, shirtless exhibitionists, older gents. In addition to setting the scene, the surrounding greenery, blue sky, and balmy light can also be regarded as signs of the somewhat paradoxical naturalness of the men fraternizing and hooking up, caught—or about to be—in the calm eye of gathering hurricane AIDS.

Eugène Atget photographed a Paris that was rapidly vanishing; Boas’s accomplishment is to have recorded a fan’s relation to stardom that is no longer possible and a carefree sexual license that is no longer viable. In doing so, he has become an Atget not of unpeopled, condemned sites of the populaire but of that which makes up the populaire

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