Gallery Hopping: Hal Fischer’s Portrait of Gay 1970s San Francisco at Project Native Informant
The exhibition showcases three of the artist's seminal works.
London’s Project Native Informant is looking back at the gay culture and community of 1970s San Francisco through the eyes of artist and critic Hal Fischer. The gallery’s current exhibition, titled “Gay Semiotics,” is showcasing three of Fischer’s seminal works: Gay Semiotics (1977), Boy-Friends (1979), and A Salesman (1979).
Boy-Friends is a 1979 series of 10 photo-text diptychs portraying the various types of men with whom the artist was involved to some degree: for instance, a “flower child/space cadet” he spent a night with, or the “punk poet” with whom he shared a “Rimbaud/Verlaine rapport.”
Originally taking the form of a billboard on Market Street in San Francisco’s Castro district, A Salesman (1979) depicts a reclining male nude and phone number. The work questions its own role as an advertisement through its lack of a traditional commercial frame.
Gay Semiotics—the work from which the exhibition draws its title—is widely regarded as a key text and work aligned with California conceptual photography in the 1970s.
Through his series of 24 photographs, embedded with phrases that break down “hanky codes” (a system used to discreetly indicate sexual preferences), Fischer examines the lives of gay men living in San Francisco’s vibrant Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts during a tumultuous decade for gay rights.
“Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics” is on view at Project Native Informant, London, through April 1, 2017.
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