Tony Greene

Tony Greene

MAK Center for Art and Architecture

Tony Greene, …faithful…, 1989. Mixed media, 14 x 14 inches. Collection of Millie Wilson.

June 21, 2014

Tony Greene
Room of Advances

June 19–September 7, 2014

MAK Center for Art
and Architecture

Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday

Tony Greene: Room of Advances is a posthumous survey of works by the late Los Angeles-based artist Tony Greene (1955–1990). Curated by artists Judie Bamber and Monica Majoli, the exhibition assembles the largest collection of Greene’s works since an exhibition at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 1991, the year following the artist’s death from AIDS at age 35. Recent national exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial 2014 and Made in L.A. 2014, at the Hammer Museum, have reestablished his oeuvre within the canon of queer art. Working at a time dominated by conceptual and activist practices, Greene affirmed and interrogated the queer experience and homoerotic desire through painting. The artist developed a visual language characterized by dark, jeweled tones and swirling impasto layered over tinted photographs to create works at once sensual, provocative and haunting.

Intimate in scale, Greene’s dreamlike paintings draw the viewer into the picture’s depth. The title for the show, Room of Advances, originates from a work comprised of 5 panels. The center panel is an image of a man’s nude torso with arms outstretched, flanked by a repeated image of a mid-century modern interior. The Schindler House—with its history of utopianism made manifest in actual domestic living—is ostensibly the modern domestic interior longed for in Greene’s work. The interplay between opacity and transparency, interior and exterior that infuses Greene’s paintings is echoed in R.M. Schindler’s architecture and makes for a particularly felicitous pairing.

Unlike many gay artists who reacted to the AIDS epidemic by framing their work solely as activism, Greene was able to keep that dire reality present while foregrounding passion as something ongoing and alive. Photographic images from physique pictorials, natural history dioramas, and men’s mouths from gay pornography act as a base for decorative arabesques and molded Rosicrucian lettering. Layered with lapidary glazes, the paintings incorporate romanticized images that elicit desire viscerally, yet remain encased in veils of paint, barricaded behind ornament and fleshy yarns of Rhoplex.

About Tony Greene
Tony Greene studied in Los Angeles, receiving his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 1985 and his MFA from CalArts in 1987, and continued to live and exhibit in L.A. through 1990. During this brief and artistically fertile period, he influenced and was influenced by a significant group of artists who went on to shape contemporary art, including Catherine Opie, Richard Hawkins, Lari Pittman and Nayland Blake. Although rarely on display in the past 20 years, Greene’s paintings have lived on in the homes of his intimates and artistic peers. His legacy as an artist, friend and personality has grown far beyond the circle of artists who emerged in L.A. in the mid-1980s.

About the curators
Judie Bamber is an artist who has had numerous solo exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited at the Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Armory Center for Art, Pasadena, California; Carpenter Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, California; Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois; and MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recent awards include 2012 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship, California Community Foundation Grant and, City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship. Bamber lives and works in Los Angeles and is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Fine Art Department at Otis College of Art and Design. She is represented by Gavlak Gallery in Los Angeles.

Monica Majoli is an artist who has hadnumeroussolo exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea; Spain; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy; San Jose Museum of Art; the University Art Museum Berkeley; and at the 2006 Whitney Biennial and 2006 Berlin Biennial of Contemporary Art at KW Institute of Contemporary Art. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hammer Museum, the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Majoli lives and works in Los Angeles and is a Professor of Art at University of California, Irvine. 

About the MAK Center
Unique in its role as a constellation of historic architectural sites and contemporary exhibition spaces, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, at the Schindler House develops local, national, and international projects in art, architecture, and their intersections and tangents. It seeks out and supports projects that take risks and test disciplinary boundaries. The MAK Center acts as a cultural laboratory, encouraging the development of ideas in art and architecture by engaging the center’s places, spaces, and histories. Its programming includes exhibitions, lectures, symposia, discussions, performances, music series, publication projects, salons, architecture tours, and new work commissions. It collaborates frequently with guest curators, artists and architects.

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Tony Greene at MAK Center for Art and Architecture
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June 21, 2014

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