Art + Sin

 a controversial artist’s most controversial work

Thursday, March 7, 2013

(Cocktail Reception 7:00pm – 9:30pm)
THE CENTER: 208 West 13th Street, Room 101

No artist scares guys the way REX’s work scares guys. It’s the basic difference between simple erotic entertainment and art. With [art}, your way of seeing begins to change.” – Jack Fritscher, Son Of Drummer 1978

The Saint At Large, New York’s preeminent gay party producers, and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center present a one-night-only exhibition and benefit cocktail reception featuring the rarely seen REX: SEX FREAK CIRCUS series.  A night of controversial art, the charitable event is the presenters’ second annual collaboration of ART + SIN.

During the heyday of New York’s leather scene, gay erotic artist REX was to illustration what Mapplethorpe was to photography.  Known for his meticulous pointillist style, REX established his place as one of the pioneering masters of sexually explicit art in the 1960s and 70s when his work appeared in such landmark gay publications as Drummer, The Advocate, Straight To Hell and Honcho.  His poster art and t-shirt designs for New York City’s The Mineshaft, have become icons for the sexual freedom of a pre-AIDS world.

Among his contemporaries, REX’s work continues to stand out for its challenging content and remains the enfant terrible of that seminal generation:

Rex expresses the psyche of the leather culture far deeper than Arnett, the Hun, Domino, Etienne, Martin of Holland or Tom of Finland. Those artists are each singular and great, but safely gay. REX is distinguished because he goes beyond gay and dares to draw images of marginal and perverse sexual urges we may not ever want to admit to, but that we often cum to,” continues Fritschers.

Perhaps none of his work better embodies this relentless ability to challenge, confront and even scare the viewer than his “Sex Freak Circus” series.  This notorious 12-piece collection was completed over a four-year period beginning in 1988 with each drawing taking between four to six months. The series, in its entirety, has been exhibited only once – for a special single night show at the Copacabana Nightclub on East 60th Street in 1992.  In 1994, several pieces were exhibited in a REX show at Leslie-Lohman Gallery in Soho and again in a group show at the Hudson Gallery in 1996. Since then they have not been viewed publicly.

“The Sex Freak Circus series’ connection with this year’s BPX: Black Party Expo’s Dirty Carnival theme and the fact that was commissioned to do this year’s RITES XXXIV: BLACK PARTY poster from REX – 30 years after he was commissioned to create 1983’s poster invite – make the artist and this series a particularly relevant choice to anchor this year’s ART + SIN,” states Mike Peyton, Black Party producer and principal organizer of the exhibition.

“This is our second time collaborating with The Saint At Large on an exhibition and we’re excited to bring relevant artwork to our community that they wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else.  Working with the Black Party helps broaden awareness of the Center’s cultural programming; it also benefits the Center financially from the donation of all the proceeds,” states the Center’s Director of Cultural Programs, Paul Menard.

Tickets: $25 @ and at the door.  Dress: Fetish wear encouraged.

 Produced in association with Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art & Folsom Street East