Images Push the Boundaries at Rubén Esparza’s “Piss, Blood, Spunk”

Digital Flux, Mostly Cocks (Series), 2015-2019, Photo-collage, Sizes variable

Rubén Esparza combines the skills of a multi-media artist and the insight of a gifted curator to synergize intensely cross-referential artworks.

Queer AIDS tropes, phallocentrism, and bodily fluids become markers of LGBTQ+ culture from the early ’90s to the contemporary Trumpian zeitgeist.

RUBÉN ESPARZA Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019. Presented by Tom of Finland Foundation. Curated by Phil Tarley. June 8 – July 6, 2019. On view by appointment through July 6, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 8, 2019, 7 to 10 pm. Opening night events include performances and happenings by: Oscar David Alvarez, Ridge Gallagher, Jon Vaz Gar, Jordan Michael Green, Jamison Karon, Kale, Marval A Rex, and Sheree Rose.

TOM House, 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles, California  90026
Phone +1 213 250 1685 www.TomOfFinlandFoundation.org

See 16 images from the exhibition.

Complete article by Advocate.com Editors

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RUBÉN ESPARZA “Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019” | 8th June | TOM House

Digital Flux (Santana Camefeo) 25, 26, 27, 2015-2018, Archival pigment print, 16″ x 16″ each

Rubén Esparza combines the skills of a multi-media artist and the insight of a gifted curator to synergize intensely cross-referential artworks. Queer AIDS tropes, phallocentrism, and bodily fluids become markers of LGBTQ+ culture from the early ’90s to the contemporary Trumpian zeitgeist.

GLoves (Blood Drive), a 1995 triptych, epitomizes many themes of Esparza’s oeuvre. The artist, culturally imprinted by a Latinx heritage, moved to Los Angeles from Houston, after his lover died of AIDS. To memorialize the death and cope with grief, Esparza secured a phlebotomist and invited friends to donate blood that he then dripped onto brightly hued latex gloves. Uniting the conceptual with the visual makes for an arresting, colorful overlay to a disturbing piece of activist art, swirling sadness and AIDS anger together in the same mixed-media piece.

Digital Flux, series, 2015-18and the clever 2019 protest portrait of POTUS – Goon, Con, Troll – are harvested from a collection of objet trouvé internet images. Esparza downloads the pictures and manipulates them with dot matrixes and grids. Sometimes he paints semen and swashes of Warholian colors onto the faces of his subjects as an extension of his print photomontages. Hand-cut and pasted-up porn magazine pages graphically homoeroticize whimsical adorations of the penis. These analog collages form the underpinning to his digital pastiches that employ complex computer manipulations to create an inventive layering. Coded into these handmade amalgamations is a commentary heralded by a blast of hard-core queer smut from another time; together they retrieve a culture vanquished by the internet age. Esparza revivifies print porn as he creates outrageously sexual erotica that gives homage to a vanished genre of gay civilization.

This exhibition of 20 of Ruben Esparza’s most potent pieces includes a survey of the artists, art influencers and scenesters who frequent TOM House, and who Esparza has photographed in a collection of Polaroids. The most sensational shot being a self-portrait…floating in a mason jar of urine.

–Phil Tarley, curator

GLoves (Blood Drive), 1995, Mixed media, gloves, blood, mounted on acrylic, painted canvas with clear Lucite frame, 12″ x 12″ x 3″ each

Goon Con Troll (From x48 Trump series, 2016-2019, Mixed media, digital and analog artworks, Sizes variable

Rubén Esparza (b.1962) is a Los Angeles artist and curator. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Esparza is the founder and director of the Queer Biennial, an exhibition anchored in Los Angeles that surveys international queer and Latinx art. Grants and awards, include: Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, National Endowment for the Arts, West Hollywood Arts, Tom of Finland Foundation, City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office.

Self Portrait Piss Jar, 2019, Polaroid, urine and jar

“Besides Esparza’s self-portrait jar of piss, the exhibit features erotic queer polaroids, homoeroticized whimsical adorations of the penis, collage artworks taken from fast-disappearing porn magazines, and more! ‘Piss + Blood & Spunk’ is a commentary heralded by hardcore queer obscenity from another time, brought back into this internet age.” – Jessica Romoff, Flaunt

Reception: Saturday, 7 to 10p
Opening night events include performances and happenings by: Oscar David Alvarez, FleshPiece, Ridge Gallagher, Jordan Michael Green, Jamison Karon, Marval A Rex, and Sheree Rose.

FACEBOOK EVENT

On view by appointment through 6th July.

CHECKLIST

“Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019” – Terremoto

“Rubén Esparza Piss + Blood & Spunk, Seminal Works 1993–2019 is on view by appointment at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles through Monday, July 6. The solo exhibition presents work made by the L.A.-based Esparza over the past 25 years.” – The Editors of ARTnews

Performance photos by Miguel Angeles Reyes


Chicano artist reproduces historic LGBTQ protest signs.

Rubén Esparza’s unique style fuses painting, drawing, and digital work with elements of Chicano and Queer culture. Through his art, and curating of exhibitions, he promotes a strong sense of activism. In his project entitled “From the Archives to the Archives” reproduces LGBTQ protest signs from the ’60s through the ’90s.

Esparza currently has an exhibition on display in Los Angeles at the Tom of Finland Foundation, a hub for LGBTQ artists from around the world.

By Anabel Munoz and Jose Mayorquin


Opening photos by Miguel Angeles Reyes

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Works for sale

A FUNDRAISING ART SHOW FOR TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION

Artists
Marcel Alcalá, Heather Benjamin, Butch Dick, Emma Kohlmann, Mike Kuchar, Brendan Lynch, Ryan McGinley, Alexis Ross, Jess Scott, No Sesso, and John Waters

Curated by
Liz Lee and Cali Thornhill DeWitt

 

On November 7, 1991, Tom of Finland left us for the great orgy in the sky. He requested that there be no funeral upon his death, but rather a celebration. For 28 years now there has been an annual Bacchanalian affair, counter to mourning: TOM’s Bar. This year, “DaddyWood”. An interplay on the mythic paradise of “Hollywood”, the bounty of daddy’s sure to attend, and hard cock. What better way to celebrate Tom’s legacy, and his Foundation’s work as an erotic art foundation that carves space for perverts and queers alike, than to include an art show this year, and inside of a gym, no less?

Tom’s work has often dealt in the homosocial, and what better site for the intermingling of the hyper masculine and homosocial, than a gym. Thematically Tom’s work dealt in both. Gyms were are also fervent breeding grounds for the un-breeders to indulge in the ecstasy of cruising—steam rooms, and locker rooms (often represented in Tom’s work) provided a thick, cloaking blanket of anonymity and induced sweating which created a sensuous sheen illuminating the bulging muscles of pleasure seekers.

All of the work included in this show, Hard Sweat, is more or less figurative and either overtly includes or connotes the presence of genitals, and/or arousal in any form. Any work representing or causing arousal was our focus. As Tom famously said, “If I don’t have an erection while I’m doing a drawing, I know it’s no good.”

PHOTOS OF EXHIBITION PREVIEW

LIST OF ARTWORK AVAILABLE

INQUIRIES

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