Cheek to Cheek & Butt to Butt: Doug Ischar Returns to GOLDEN GalleryDecember 9th, 2011
What changes between 1985 and 1987 in Doug Ischar’s gay lifestyle documentary photographs is more than the location. His first solo exhibition at GOLDEN gallery (3319 N. Broadway), Marginal Waters, in 2009 portrayed gay male bathers at the defunct Belmont Rocks, Chicago during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, yet the scenes nonetheless celebrate natural male beauty on the fringes of society where they enjoy the Lake Michigan breezes alongside ethnic parents with seemingly no clue who they’re sharing turf with. Now GOLDEN presents Honor Among Us (through January 14), featuring Ischar’s signature voyeuristic images of gay life at the San Fransisco leather bar, The Eagle (now closed), alongside a 2007 single-channel video, back the way he came. Gallery hours are Saturday 12 – 6pm, and by appointment.
Today Chicago gays share Hollywood Beach (officially Kathy Osterman Beach); families camp off to one side while gay men hive near the pier sporting colorful Speedos and thongs. It’s nostalgia for yesteryear’s gays and higher ground for the young and fabulous. Some of the same spirit in Marginal Waters might be captured today if Ischar’s lens wandered beach-side in the Edgewater neighborhood. The Chicago and LA based photographer and experimental documentary filmmaker has exhibited worldwide and continues to produce new work. In January 2012, Sleepless, selections of Ischar’s 1993-1995 sculptural and video installations will show at GOLDEN Gallery, New York (120 Elizabeth, Ground Floor), followed by a week of Ischar’s recently produced single-channel videos, including the debut of a new video artwork, Alone With You. Dates are January 5 – February 19, 2012. Reception is Thursday January 5, 6-9pm. Screenings take place February 22 – 26, 2012 New York. Gallery hours are Wed – Sun 12 – 6pm, and by appointment
I was originally drawn to Ichar’s unbridled sexual figures featured on fliers advertising the exhibition when the Marginal Waters first opened at GOLDEN’s original Newport location on the first floor of a town home. Since 2009, GOLDEN relocated to next to Wakamono bar and restaurant. It’s a pleasure now to see Ischar exhibiting again with Honor Among Us. You’ll see hard dyke bodies, thick meat-eating hunks, leather daddies, and a discerning suited gentleman grace the galleries of GOLDEN this fall/winter. The vivid colors and hard black borders of the photographs are highly visible to passersby. The original accompanying text by American poet, playwright, and author Kevin Killian is featured on the gallery door. His illusion to queer artists and poetic analysis act as portal through his eyes to the pictures hanging behind the words.
Some of Ischar’s videos are held by the School of the Art Institute’s Video Data Bank. He was born in Hawaii in 1948, completed his BA at Columbia College Chicago in 1984, and his MFA in Photography at California Institute of the Arts in 1987.