On my gay & lesbian gallery tours, which I’ve been leading for over 10 years, my goal has been to broaden my attendees’ experience of LGBT artists to include gay artist exhibits from around the world. One major country that has eluded my grasp, because of its lack of openly gay artists, is China. And what’s especially unsettling about that is that Chinese artists are absolutely exploding onto the international art scene as never before. But where are the gay ones?
Well, I’m thrilled to announce that one openly gay artist – Shen Wei – will not only be featured on my Sat. Sept. 22 LGBT gallery tour in Chelsea, but he has agreed to speak to us when we visit his show of ravishing nude male photos, including self-portraits. In his native China, these photographs would not be allowed to be shown. And, yes (in case you were wondering), the artist is HOT!
Unsurprisingly, Shen’s exhibit has been generating media attention. Here’s a New Yorker magazine review of the show we’ll be seeing:
“The Shanghai-born, New York-based photographer builds on a series of provocative self-portraits with a group that proves an unsettled identity can still have a powerful presence. Though nude throughout, Wei reveals only so much, and in the few images where he is not alone the scenarios are fraught but ambiguous. In one, a naked man cups Wei’s throat in a gesture that’s at once intimate and threatening; in another, the photographer sits tensed at the edge of a bed, his back to a naked young woman and a sleeping man. When he’s the only subject, Wei is alternately seductive and introspective, knowing and innocent—part satyr, part sprite.”
I myself find Shen’s works to be both aesthetically beautiful and delightfully mysterious. They range from scenes in which the nude Shen is framed by gorgeous Chinese landscapes, to ones where he is in the bedroom, both alone and with other nude subjects. There is an exotic delicacy to his work that is transfixing.
And that’s not all we’ll see on this tour. There will be 7 stops total, including a lesbian artist’s sculptural installations that have been commissioned by the Baltimore Museum of Art for its permanent space. She is an up-and-coming superstar!
This first LGBT gallery tour of the new season is the 106th such tour I’ve led in these past 10 years, all of them showing completely different work. Here’s to hoping that Shen Wei’s appearance on my tour will open of the floodgates for our getting to meet many more LGBT artists from China.
Rafael Risemberg, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
New York Gallery Tours