At the End of the Day, an exhibition opening at Space 4 Art (325 15th St., East Village) from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, marks a major turning point for the featured artist, Andrew Printer.
Printer is primarily known for photography inspired by his own experience of being a middle-aged gay man who survived the AIDS epidemic. A recurring theme of his work is questioning the gay community's push for the right to marry and other moves toward what he sees as the LGBT population's awkward assimilation of heteronormative ideals. Printer will have two photographic series focused on the subject in his new solo exhibition, but he says he's ready to move on.
"I'm done," Printer says in his dark basement studio in Golden Hill. "For 25, 30 years, this is what my work has been about, and I don't think I want to do anything about this anymore."
After the show, Printer will move to Florida, where he plans to start working on a new series of work focused on landscapes or some other subject worlds away from identity politics.
At the End of the Day is an excellent last word on an interesting topic. The show includes "Sleepers," a series of photographs depicting naked men on a bed in positions that obscure their identity and their genitalia. Printer thinks society tends not to want to think about what gay men do in bed. He says for the most part, gay men oblige, thereby masking their sexuality in order to gain wider acceptance.
"The series is basically saying we've kind of been assimilated," Printer explains. "But the price we pay is de-sexualization."
The other series in the show is portraits of shirtless men "peeking out at life through laced curtains"—another obvious comment on the domestication of gay culture. Printer used a film camera for the series and achieved a lacy pattern by literally shoving sheets of lace through his Epson as the images were printed onto paper. The effect is unique.
"Maybe I'll revisit this subject again someday," Printer later says. "But I think this is it."