san-francisco

Curt McDowell

[ 2nd floor projects ]

Curt McDowell worked in San Francisco from the late 1960s until his death in 1987—a period that witnessed the Summer of Love, gay liberation, and the onset of AIDS, to which he succumbed at the age of forty-two. The author of numerous films that recast the American dream of plenty in pansexual terms, McDowell, like so many artists of his generation, indulged in the era’s carnal abundance, and his appetites and experiences are reflected in the work, which alternates between the revealing and the puerile. His short films, such as Weiners and Buns Musical (1972) and Loads (1980), celebrate sex as well as genre riffing and autobiographical narratives (McDowell’s insatiable desire for seducing straight men is explicitly documented in his 16-mm works), and bear the influences of Jack Smith’s lush, DIY camp aesthetic, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s explosive melodrama, and Nan Goldin’s glimpses of

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