CHICAGO — Yannis Tsarouchis, the homosexual Greek artist-provocateur, was properly forward of his time. His mid-Twentieth century work explored homoeroticism when such themes had been nonetheless extremely taboo. Dancing in Actual Life, a complete survey at Wrightwood 659, shines a a lot merited highlight on the artist. That includes over 200 works, it’s Tsarouchis’s first main present in the US and makes a powerful case for recognizing this modernist painter as a pioneer of queer artwork.
Born in Piraeus, Greece in 1910, Tsarouchis studied on the Athens Faculty of Positive Arts whereas working as a stage designer. Among the many exhibition’s highlights is the documentation of Tsarouchis’s work for theater and opera, together with sketches for stage designs and pictures with the luminaries he collaborated with, together with Maria Callas and Samuel Beckett.
In certainly one of Tsarouchis’s most intriguing compositions, the big oil portray, “The Forgotten Garrison” (1956), three dressed down troopers, their chests and buttocks alternatingly bared, lounge on the barracks. The composition’s darkish, somber tones — one might name them Rembrandt-esque — belie the sexually charged ambiance of their crisscrossed gazes.
Nonetheless, Tsarouchis’s boldness got here at a value. In 1952, certainly one of his work was faraway from an exhibition after the Royal Hellenic Navy denounced its portrayal of a sailor on a mattress with a unadorned man as offensive. In 1959, the play that includes his set design (a staging of Aristophanes’s The Birds) was cancelled because the right-wing Greek authorities imposed harsh measures in opposition to homosexuality. After the army coup, in 1967, Tsarouchis lived in Paris, till 1981. Although he continued portray, and started visiting Greece once more after the junta’s fall in 1974, the exhibit at Wrightwood nonetheless left me with a way of a artistic movement stymied midstream. Tsarouchis’s self-exile, particularly, made me surprise if his daring artwork would have been acknowledged extra extensively, or earlier, had his profession not suffered disruption.
Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life continues by means of July 31 at Wrightwood 659 (659 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, IL). The exhibition was curated by Androniki Gripari and Adam Szymczyk.