San Francisco

Luke Butler

Jessica Silverman Gallery

In “Captain!” Luke Butler’s first solo show at Silverman Gallery, a critique of male hegemony is filtered through 1960s and ’70s television. The artist’s witty paintings and collages depict men in charge—most notably, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk (as William Shatner played him) and America’s thirty-eighth president, Gerald R. Ford—but reverse power dynamics, hinting at the erotic potential of reduced authority. Taking on two white men who lorded over their charges with comical earnestness, the entertaining result nods to the peculiar homoeroticism of slash fiction.

Butler’s Star Trek paintings are often based on screen shots, with the characters stranded in drab settings or isolated against a blank gray ground. Painted in acrylic, a medium that suggests the Sunday-painter dabbling of an adoring fan, the works maintain the flatness of a TV screen. In Captain XIII, 2009, Kirk is seen with his

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