Takedown Portraits

Takedown Portraits
wrestling takedown

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Takedown Portraits

(Larry Stanton in his studio @1984)

Takedown: 'To get into one's hands control or possession.' The portraits of artist Larry Stanton, found at larrystanton.net, display a complete ownership of his sitters. 'A wrestling manoeuvre through which an opponent is swiftly brought to the mat from a standing position.' Whether the sitter was someone noticed at a cafe, a casual friend, or someone well known, the poets Donald Britton and Tim Dlugos, the playwright/actor/director Charles Ludlam, the writers Brad Gooch and Dennis Cooper, the arts critic Oleg Kerensky, Larry found the human being underneath him. 'Having the capability of being taken down or taken apart.' Having fought his own demons, Larry could look deeply when drawing and painting. Think of them, also, as 'duets' between artist and sitters: a conversation.
This is a book of minimalist poetry about Larry Stanton, 1947-1984, and his subjects. They are drafts, stanzas are added, rewritten daily.
I do not believe that I ever met him, so it is thanks to those who did who are sharing their recollections, that this is possible.
The 1980's marked the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the awareness of a 'plague,' when so many gay men, gay men in the arts, were being infected, 'taken down,' knocked over, discovering that they were infected, and, too often, dying.
To see a trailer from the film 'Thunder Every Day,' filmed by Larry Stanton: http://www.pinkplot.com
The Reproductions of paintings and drawings by Larry Stanton appear with permission from Arthur Lambert, Jr.
(Added 5 June 2018, HIV Long-Term Survivors Day:) where possible, these imagined conversations- 'duets-' emerge from material, poems, prose, written by the sitter. When there isn't anything with which to work, these are similar to 'Spoon River Anthology,' speakers, or cave paintings, demanding that the viewer, or the reader, acknowledge that 'We were here: we lived, breathed, were witty, sexy, crude.'

(A draft board classifying officer takes down the physical and other details of a young man stripped to his white briefs.)

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