Image above: © Pacifico Silano, Back Pages, 2015 / courtesy of Baxter St at CCNY
Tear Sheets is a solo exhibition by Pacifico Silano, a young artist and 2015 Workspace Resident. Setting out to test the myths and stereotypes about gay culture after his uncle died of AIDS in the late 80s, Silano provides the audience with a provocative atmosphere of iconic 70s/80s gay porn magazines such as Blueboy, Torso, and Honcho.
Images above: © Sang Ha Park, from the opening reception
For Silano, everything started with a Polaroid he received after parents' separation - an old picture of his uncle whose face he's never seen before. Wanting to know more about this forgotten relative, as well as embracing the possibility of having a better sense of his own identity, Silano developed an interest in gay men who died as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Giving rise to subsequent exploration of identity, sexuality and forgotten histories, this personal investigation made him feel closer to the family outsider.
Image above: © Pacifico Silano, Show Starts at 9, 2015 / courtesy of Baxter St at CCNY
“Sometimes I like to think that he’s guiding me through my own work,”says the artist. “When I’m lost for an idea in the studio, I’ll look up at the old Polaroid and I’ll remember how my journey began.” In Tear Sheets, Silano creates composite images that represent often forgotten cultural moments by re-contextualizing pages from old magazines, tackling discarded histories of LGBTQ community and its impact on contemporary gay identity. Juxtaposing pornography, advertisements and images of gay icons, Silano is drawing attention to a lost generation of gay men through the process of reworking, obscuring, and tearing the source material.
Image above: © Pacifico Silano, Bette, 2015 / courtesy of Baxter St at CCNY
“I’m trying to shed light on some of the things that young, gay men often overlook. AIDS took a lot of really amazing, talented people away from the world. It’s important to remember that massive loss of life. Everything we, as a community, have achieved in recent years is built on the shoulders of those who came before us,” explains Silano. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he received his BFA in Photography from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design and his MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts.
Image above: © Pacifico Silano, Leather Bar Matches, 2015 / courtesy of Baxter St at CCNY
Tear Sheets is the first show in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2015 winners of the Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, Kodak, and Fujifilm.
Image above: © Pacifico Silano, Cherry Lips, 2015 / courtesy of Baxter St at CCNY
The exhibition is on view through January 16, 2016 at BAXTER ST at CCNY.
Text by Kelly Korzun