By NOAH BECKER May, 2019
I met with Magda Sawon, the founder of 34 year old New York gallery Postmasters. Sawon and Ruben Natal-San Miguel are co curating a new exhibition at the gallery and were eager to give me the details.
Noah Becker: What is the title of the next show here at Postmasters Gallery?
Magda Sawon: Okay. On June 6th, we are opening a show called 'Pride' which we intend to be a celebration of art and artists that are of LGBTQ background, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
Becker: Who is curating this show?
Sawon: This man here.
Becker: Ruben San Miguel.
Ruben San Miguel: Ruben Natal-San Miguel and Magda Sawon, we're co-curating this.
San Miguel: Yes. 30 artists, it will be a huge undertaking, so we need to do it together.
Becker: Okay, that is really major - the show will be up for a month?
San Miguel: No, two months.
Sawon: Maybe like five weeks? Until July 20th.
Becker: Okay great. What's the opening date?
Sawon: It opens on June 6th. Which is a Thursday.
San Miguel: Thursday. 6:00 p.m.
Becker: Right. 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. as most galleries do. Excellent choice!
San Miguel: Yeah.
Becker: You were saying there's 30 artists in the show?
San Miguel: I think we're at like 35, no?
Sawon: No, we have about 30. I was just checking the list.
San Miguel: It's 30? Okay.
Sawon: There is one or two things to be confirmed. We still have a few weeks to nail it down, but it is about 30 artists of different generations. Some of them that are ones that did experience Stonewall firsthand, some of them much younger.
San Miguel: I told him that we are 'city warriors', people like Jack Pierson. People that are very influential in LGBTQ art, and in the community as well, that were very prevalent through the entire length of the last 50 years. Then we have friends of the LGBTQ community as well, like Marilyn Minter. We have Eric Hanson. We have Trey Speegle and Scooter Laforge. I just asked Scooter Laforge. They've been present for the entire movement of downtown artists, they're very involved with the community. But, then we have newer artists like Zachary Richardson. They do performance, they bring something newer to the art form in terms of message and presence - so, we are sort of combining that. We just didn't want to have the typical timeline show that most people are doing. We wanted to do like Magda said a "celebration".
Sawon: Yeah, that involves interesting things. That involves work that is very recent, but also going back.
San Miguel: John Waters for example.
Sawon: John Waters is in the show with some earlier works and so is Patricia Cronin with really incredible water colors of 'girls in love' from 1993.
San Miguel: And Deborah Kass.
Sawon: There is Deborah Kass, there will be Catherine Opie There is a very solid, and very diverse group of artists. We will have Barbara Hammer with one of her most famous films, called 'Nitrate Kisses'. So, all media, all people, it will be playful. We have Carlos Rolon as well.
San Miguel: Oh, Carlos Rolon. Yes.
Sawon: Carlos is making these basketballs, but, he gives us one to play with. So, there will be a basketball hoop, and we will play.
San Miguel: The great thing about that project, is that he did that project to help renovate the basketball courts in Puerto Rico that were destroyed by hurricane Maria. But, at the same time it is a it has a very strong love message when you see the hoops. So, we trying find artists that are really involved and they're doing something more than art. They are doing social commentary and they're helping the different communities. For us was important to do that because that's the message we want to send for the next 50 years. It's a very important, my whole gay life is going to be on the walls. I remember I was very young and I bought a small Jack Pierson photograph and I'm going to be on the walls with him now, who knew? I bought that in Provincetown over 25/30 years ago.
Sawon: And Nayland Blake.
San Miguel: And Nayland Blake. I also have Nayland Blake work from way back too. I think that this is going to push the envelope in terms of celebration and without being negative. We want to be celebratory. I think that the work is celebratory, right? We just want to have a very joyful celebration. I mean I'm very happy, I feel like 'wow', like I said, "I'm going to see my life reflected on the walls in so many ways." For the different artists, even Marilyn Minter.
Sawon: Yeah, because we also have this interesting section, where artists that pair with people that are sort of icons of different type for LGBTQ. So, we have actually this work that is here by Molly Crabapple that teamed with Chelsea Manning to do this portrait. So, she made the portrait, then Chelsea added to it. Then Marilyn Minter is doing a portrait of Ruth Bell, who is now on the cover of 'Out'. But, is also a very kind of famous queer supermodel.
Sawon: So, there is all that. WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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