January 17, 2015 - February 14, 2015
Los Angeles, CA

François Ghebaly Gallery


Saints and Sinners

“As an illustrator, my aim is to amuse the eye and ‘spark’ imagination. To soothe with sensual lines and excite with color. To create titillating scenes that refresh the soul and put a bit more ‘fun’ to viewing pictures.”

—Mike Kuchar

“Saints and Sinners” Mike Kuchar Exhibition at François Ghebaly Gallery

Mike Kuchar, "Saints and Sinners", 2015 / "Sins of the Fleshapoids", 1965

Tuesday – Saturday, 12PM – 7PM,
or By Appointment

Screenings of Sins of the Fleshapoids will be presented every hour, during business hours. (This is the premier presentation in HD of his 1965 seminal and solo directorial debut.)

“Saints and Sinners” Mike Kuchar Exhibition at François Ghebaly Gallery
Mike Kuchar, Saints and Sinners, 2015
Director, cinematographer, visual artist, writer, and underground film legend Mike Kuchar was born in New York City in 1942, and began making 8mm home movies starring friends and family with his twin brother George at age 12 in the Bronx. They became central to the 1960s NY underground film scene, screening work alongside Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Jack Smith. Called “legends in the world of experimental film” by Roger Ebert, the Kuchars have influenced filmmaking giants including John Waters, Todd Solondz, Pedro Almodovar, and Atom Egoyan.

Mike attended commercial art high school with the likes of Gerard Malanga of the Warhol factory and worked as a fashion photo retoucher while making his own 16mm movies of which Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965) and The Craven Sluck (1967) are most noted for their camp quality. In the past 10 years, Mike has focused on more intimate one person expressionistic films. He coauthored, with his brother George REFLECTIONS FROM A CINEMATIC CESSPOOL published in 1997, a humorous memoir discussing four decades of filmmaking and including an introduction by director John Waters. Mike and George Kuchar were the co-recipients of the ‘Vanguard Director Award’ at the 11th CineVegas Film Festival, and recipient of the 2009 FRAMELINE ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

Throughout his life Mike has also drawn, prodigiously, an equally amplified world of exaggerated characters. Influenced by his time with 19th century French paintings, natural history museums, New York and San Francisco gay underground and American comic culture, drafting exquisite scenes of Man throughout history. The drawings made from the late 1970s to the mid-2000s for various homoerotic comic publications in the US, include Meatmen, Manscape, Gay Heart Throbs, and First Hand, among others. Mike’s films and illustrations have been exhibited internationally.

In a 2008 Artforum review on the Kuchar’s exhibition, critic Bruce Hainley deemed Mike and George, “two of the most important artists this country has ever produced.”

Mike Kuchar has recently exhibited at François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles; [2nd floor projects], San Francisco; Baer Ridgway Gallery, San Francisco; The APT, Vancouver; Frieze Art Fair, London; and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. Mike currently teaches Electro-graphic Sinema in the film department at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Critic's Pick

Andrew Berardini, Artforum
Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, c. 1980-1990, pencil, pen, felt pens, ink on paper, 26 1/5 x 20 1/5”.
Burnished bubble butts beam with unholy light. Cut and uncut, huge, veiny cocks blossom from every angle. Angels and gods, gladiators and cavemen, street hustlers and bodybuilders, S-M beltings and four-way pirate fuckfests are all drawn with the bright hues and hard lines of comic-book superheroes. The Los Angeles debut of underground-film hero Mike Kuchar (best known for collaborations with his brother, George) hangs and screens five decades of lusty illustration and delightfully schlocky film. Kuchar creams and colorizes a tradition set by Tom of Finland’s pencil drawings of leathered men and lonely sailors with inflated musculature and fantastically large rods (currently the subject of an exquisite survey across town at David Kordansky Gallery). While such work has a cool, supple-wristed beauty, Kuchar’s drawings and film both mock and celebrate the near-comic lust of the former generation. Many might worship the purity of high modernism, but we’d prefer to live in the hot mess of its aftermath.

In one room, Kuchar’s first effort without the help of George, Sins of the Fleshapoids, 1965 (considered one of the great underground films by none other the pope of trash himself, John Waters), plays on the hour. In the next, amid a dozen leafy potted plants, is a plaster replica of Michelangelo’s David, who looks askance at the framed illustrations on the walls around him. This high kitsch makes the gallery more “arty,” a classic cover for the homoerotic illustrations and soft-core movies playing on either side (the other video, Tickled Pink, 2012, shows in just under nine minutes that Kuchar’s cheap, campy charm remained tumescent with time). As with Sins of the Fleshapoids, the cut-rate set dressing only deepens my affections for the artist and his antics. With horny glee, Kuchar returns the original seasoning to the normally sexless accolade of “seminal.”

— Andrew Berardini, Artforum

Mike Kuchar, “Saints and Sinners”, 2015 / “Tickled Pink”, 2012
Mike Kuchar, Saints and Sinners, 2015 / Tickled Pink, 2012

François Ghebaly Gallery
January 17, 2015 - February 14, 2015
2245 E Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90021 · Map
Tel 323 282 5187 · Email
François Ghebaly Gallery Website

Return to Events Page

— Share This Page —
Share |


World of Tom of Finland

Celebrating Erotic Art in Galleries, News and Events