Dec 282019

The images above are from Michelle Handelman’s film Irma Vep, The Last Breath, starring Zackary Drucker and the late Flawless Sabrina.

The video installation is based on Musidora, the French silent film actress, and the character she is best known for Irma Vep from the 1915 film Les Vampires directed by Louis Feuillade.

From the exhibition’s caption-

It’s a piece about living in the shadows, criminal anxiety, and the relationship between the artist and her creation, both fictional and real.

Irma Vep and Musidora are played by Zackary Drucker (Transparent) and the late Flawless Sabrina (The Queen), two artists whose identities transgress the border of art and life. Together, they developed a relationship that documents a cultural evolution of gender.

Musidora was an early 20th century feminist who took control of her career, not only acting, but also producing/directing films and theater. She was an artistic force of her time, producing several works by her lover Colette and having many documented affairs with both men and women. After financing dried up for her projects, she lived in relative obscurity until her death in Paris, 1957. In her later years, she worked the ticket booth of the Cinematheque Francaise, where few people ever knew that the woman selling them their movie tickets was France’s beloved vamp of the silver screen.

Irma Vep, The Last Breath takes up motifs from the silent movie such as gazes, affected body language and the figure of the masked woman. It’s shot on a starkly illuminated set that makes space for anxious projections of desire on the void that is Irma Vep- a space between genders, between vamps of the silent era and the contemporary queer- smashing the shiny veneer to reveal dark, subconscious layers of fluid identity.

The film is part of the larger exhibition Idol Worship, a group show curated by Emily Colucci, at Smack Mellon which “celebrates the ongoing cultural, social and political significance of role model adoration as an essential survival strategy”.

The exhibition closes 12/29/19.

Mar 222014

Luke Gilford / Zackary Drucker


Flawless Sabrina in Zackary Drucker’s film


Tim Hawkinson


Robert Therrien

There are twenty eight artists in the group show Unsparing Quality, curated by Farrah Karapetian, currently at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art. The title is derived from André Breton’s First Manifesto of Surrealism- “Beloved imagination, what I like most in you is your unsparing quality.”

From the press release:

The exhibition poses the question: where do Surrealist impulses manifest in contemporary practice, and why are we seeing this now? The response involves three generations of artists who engage the legacy of Surrealist practice and offer work that investigates the subtle madness of the ordinary world.

The idea of self plays an important role in the collaborative portraits by Zackary Drucker and Luke Gilford titled, This Is What It Looks Like (To Go From One Thing To Everything) pictured above (image via Luke Gilford). In Zackary Drucker’s film with Flawless SabrinaAt least you know: you exist (2010-11) the older and younger artist interact to give a sense of continuation in the exploration of identity.

In Tim Hawkinson’s Samoa (2013), the artist made a bronze cast of his body for the sculpture with chains linking his hands to his tongue. The joints of the chain extending from his mouth are made from casts of the artist’s tongue and lips, while the ones originating from his hands are from casts of his thumb and index finger.  The sculpture poses questions about the nature of being an artist and its limitations with a surrealist approach.

Surrealism’s influence can also be seen in Robert Therrien’s beard sculptures. The larger size (pictured above) and a “beard cart” with varying sizes, some of which very small, offer a chance to question the idea of this prop and its potential uses.

The exhibition also includes work going as far back as the early 1920’s to demonstrate the ways in which artists have been exploring and continue to explore the “unsparing quality” of imagination.

On March 22 at 4pm, Zackary Drucker, Luke Gilford, Ray Barrett, Masood Kamandy, Mie Hørlyck Mogenson, Max Rain and Kim Schoen will be part of a panel discussion at the gallery.

You can watch an excerpt of Zackary Drucker’s film here-

Here is a link to Tim Hawkinson talking about his work for a show at Pace Gallery which included Samoa. He explains that the name for this sculpture came in part from the Girl Scout cookies his daughter was selling at the time.