My hat’s off to anyone who survived the 80’s, a time of uncertainty and despair. Honestly I got this curation from 90’s Violet, I wanted to switch it up, but looking through the rest of Hugh Steers oeuvre is somber. These paintings ache the least. “I think I’m in the tradition of a certain kind of American artist-artists whose work embodies a certain gorgeous bleakness. Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline- they all had this austere beauty to them. They found beauty in the most brutal forms. I think that’s what characterizes America, the atmosphere, it’s culture, it’s cities and landscape. They all have that soft glow of brutality.”
The ostracism, despair, community, love, fear, grief, all those emotions permeate the paintings. The subjects aware of their finite time on Earth, spending it as best they can. Very clever and ironic to use bright colors to juxtapose the despondency. A glimmer of hope while they experimented with medicine and stitched quilts to be memorialized. One person who displayed compassion, Princess Diana, hugging an AIDS patient while visiting a Harlem hospital. She defended the humanity of those afflicted. An aspirational human being, we’re lucky she ever graced us with her benevolence.
Hugh Steers passed away at 32 of AIDS, like many great artists. Which piece moves you the most? Artist: Hugh Steers