New York

View of “Cast of Characters,” 2018. Photo: Regan Wood Studio.

View of “Cast of Characters,” 2018. Photo: Regan Wood Studio.

“Cast of Characters”

Bureau of General Services—Queer Division (BGSQD)

As if looking out toward an audience in a theater-in-the-round, I sat alone on a white pleather cube eyeing portraits. “Cast of Characters,” a salon of likenesses by more than one hundred queer artists, was organized by Liz Collins for Pride Month in June. The show didn’t fall prey to the usual tropes of gay portraiture—images of shirtless young men were minimized in favor of a more wide-ranging panoply of bodies. Hannah Barrett’s oil painting Staying and Going, 2017, featured a knobby androgynous figure in a floral jumpsuit whose limbs are twisted into the extremities of a chair. Pregnant Butch, 2014, a silk-screened print by A. K. Summers, was a blowup of the cover image from the artist’s titular 2014 graphic novel, which wrestles with the societal link between femininity and motherhood. The show was mostly made up of paintings and photographs, but some portraits were sculptures,

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