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Woo Woo, 2014, Glitter and bead drawings with multicolor sterling silver leaf on handmade paper in gold frame, 27 x 27 inches. Photo: Natalie Fleming.


Pickles, 2014, 27 x 27 inches, glitter and bead drawings with multicolor sterling silver leaf on handmade paper in gold frame. Photo: Natalie Fleming. 


Woo Woo and Pickles—also part of Christopher Tanner’s Clown Virus series—bring the same concepts to a smaller scale. These smaller works allow for a more intimate interaction with them. They bring us closer, make us lean in. Yet, the forms that are so playful from afar reveal themselves, upon closer inspection, to be viruses. We have been seduced and visually apprehended, but what might we have contracted in this engagement with a shimmery contagion? Rather than fatality, these works allow us to laugh. Through his particularly camp aesthetic, Tanner calls into question the implications of plague, giving us an emotive alternative with glitter.

Christopher Tanner (b. 1955) has been living and creating visual and performance art in the East Village of NYC since 1979. He is a bit of a magpie collecting shiny, sparkling jewelry, glitter, gold leaf, crystals, beads, special personal ephemera, etc., that he puts together to make a historical story of a gay man living in NYC before the AIDS crisis, all through it, and on and on. Tanner’s work in Ill at Ease is from his Clown Virus series. Tanner is also a performance artist and has created many plays in NYC at LaMama, Dixon Place and the Kitchen.

Tanner’s recent solo exhibitions include Eye of the Heart at La MaMa Galleria in 2015, Treasure Smart Clothes Gallery in 2013, The Queen of Hell & the Horn of Plenty at Pavel Zoubok Gallery in 2010, all in NYC, and Give Me the Cobra Jewel at Atrium Gallery in St. Louis, 2008.

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