A Salesman, 1979/2017, the central work that took up the entire back wall of the gallery in Hal Fischer’s exhibition “Gay Semiotics,” was originally installed as a billboard at the gateway to San Francisco’s Castro district, famously the center of gay pride activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Commissioned as part of a billboard exhibition organized by the Eyes and Ears Foundation and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, it shows a naked man on a bed sporting a moustache. He is lying on one side, in white sheets, in a pose that recalls such iconic female nudes as Manet’s Olympia, 1863. But in its original context, the billboard also played off a familiar advertisement for the men’s clothing store Hastings that featured a sexy male model and was displayed all over San Francisco at the time, and the photograph was also inspired by the famous 1972 Burt Reynolds centerfold in
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.