los-angeles

William E. Jones, Villa Iolas (Paul Thek, Lucio Fontana, Takis, Harold Stevenson, René Magritte, Egyptian Sculpture), 1982/2017, hand-coated ink-jet print, 16 x 20".

William E. Jones

David Kordansky Gallery

William E. Jones, Villa Iolas (Paul Thek, Lucio Fontana, Takis, Harold Stevenson, René Magritte, Egyptian Sculpture), 1982/2017, hand-coated ink-jet print, 16 x 20".

William E. Jones first met the legendary Greek art dealer Alexander Iolas (1907–1987) in 1982, in the bedroom of the latter’s house in Athens, where the gallerist was readying himself for the day as his chauffeur lay in bed. He first spoke to Jones in French (a language the artist did not know) and followed up in English, asking the young Midwestern boy—fresh from his first year at Yale—whether he knew of the poetry of Constantine Cavafy, adding, “He is one of us.” This question, the large Harold Stevenson watercolor of a column/phallus (COLUMN, ca. 1965) hanging next to the dealer’s bed, and the chauffeur as putative lover made it crystal clear to Jones that Iolas was a homosexual with luxurious and refined taste.

As primal scenes go, it doesn’t get any better. This anecdote is narrated by Jones in Fall into Ruin, 2017, a slide-show video featuring a voice-over focusing

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