Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Opening the Flood Gates
This is a great article I came across today on Outinamerica.com. I especially LOVE the title! :)
ARTIST PAUL RICHMOND OPENS THE FLOOD GATES ON KEN STARR
Most of Paul Richmond's artwork is pretty gay. However, his new painting "Noah's Gay Wedding Cruise" was recently dubbed "The Gayest Painting of Our Time" by towleroad.com.
In it, Richmond interprets the biblical flood story in a new way - one where the pool of drowning sinners includes the likes of Ken Starr, Sally Kern, and Fred Phelps, while the ark/cruise ship takes same-sex couples to safety. View the painting here: www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21465325.
"Noah's Gay Wedding Cruise" is on display at Gallery Arcane in San Francisco in the exhibit "Sweet & Low: Optimism in a Pessimistic Age" which opens March 5 (the same day Ken Starr will address the Supreme Court about nullifying the unions of gay and lesbian couples in California). The theme of the exhibit combined with the nationwide pro-marriage movement led Richmond to develop the concept for the piece. "The recent passage of Proposition 8 and the subsequent efforts of Ken Starr to break apart marriages in the name of family values certainly inspire pessimism," he explains. "However, I've been so incredibly moved by demonstrations across the country in support of marriage equality, and I believe we're on the cusp of great progress."
That sense of optimism certainly comes through in "Noah's Gay Wedding Cruise." Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are on-board, as are Jack and Ennis from Brokeback Mountain, Elton John and David Furnish, and Rosie O'Donnell and Kelli Carpenter, not to mention giraffes and flamingos in top hats, and some love-struck elephants. The unlikely group drifts toward an opening in the clouds where a bright rainbow emerges, one that, according to the artist, reminds "hopeful voyagers that full legal recognition and acknowledgement of same-sex love are just over the horizon."
Of course, not everyone in the gay community sees the painting or the issue in this light. Some of the buzz generated by the piece online accuses it of going too far, with accusations that it is "distasteful," or representative of the LGBT community's "great strategic mistake" of alienating moderate opponents. Richmond sees it differently. "I can't stand behind accepting a lesser version of marriage. It would be like going back in time and telling women who were fighting for the right to vote, 'Oh, sorry. There are just too many people who would be upset by this. Besides, men should be in charge. It says so in the Bible. How about you express your political ideas in another way - maybe make some pretty banners for your favorite politician?'"
Despite its critics, others have responded more favorably to Richmond's contribution to the marriage debate, including one commenter who went so far as to suggest that it is "the single most important piece of gay art produced in the last sixty years."
"I'm just thrilled to see it has sparked some interesting discussion," Richmond notes. "What more could an artist hope for?"
Paul Richmond's paintings have been displayed at venues including the World of Wonder Gallery, A Bitchin' Space, 2nd City Gallery, BoMA: The Bar of Modern Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art. Utilizing a multitude of artistic methodologies, his work explores themes of personal narrative and social commentary, sometimes addressing unique experiences of the GLBTQ community or self-realization and empowerment at large. See more of his work online at www.paulrichmondstudio.com, and order giclee prints and other merchandise from his online shop at www.paulypants.etsy.com.
"Sweet & Low: Optimism in a Pessimistic Age" opens on Thursday, March 5 from 6-9 pm at Gallery Arcane, located at 575 Sutter Street in San Francisco. Visit www.galleryarcane.com for more details.