Monday, December 9, 2013

Michael Petry Author, Artist & Gay Activist Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michael Petry, author, artist and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in London about his new book “Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition”. “Nature Morte” reveals how leading artists of the 21st century are reinventing still life, a genre traditionally associated with 16th and 17th century Masters. Among the artists represented in the book are John Currin, Saara Ekström, Elmgreen & Dragset, Renata Hegyi, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Gary Hume, Jeff Koons, McDermott & McGough, Beatriz Milhazes, Gabriel Orozco, Marc Quinn, Sam Taylor-Wood and Cy Twombly. On December 17th, the Sundaram Tagore Gallery at 547 West 27th Street in New York City will be hosting a book party event for “Nature Morte” from 6P to 8P. Petry and the New York-based artists who appear in the book will be in attendance. We talked to Michael about his new book and his spin on our LGBT issues.

Originally from Texas, Michael has lived in London since 1981. When asked what it’s like living in the UK since the passage of the Equality Act in 2010 Petry stated, “I would first say that I don’t know that we have full LGBT rights in the UK. I mean a group called Stonewall definitely would say that there’s still a lot of work to fight for but in comparison to what’s going on in the States, yes it’s easier to say we have full equality. One of the things that just happened is we have an Olympic Diver Tom Daley who just came out and fortunately it was not that traumatic for him, but he was definitely suffering from online troll behavior in some people making really bad comments about him. He’s got a TV show coming out soon and I think he just wanted to put to bed that kind of bullying. I think for those of us in the West it’s important to remember even when you have legal rights that doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is going to be a ‘bowl of cherries’ but equally it’s a darn sight better than most people have in Africa and of course Russia and lots of other places. The second thing is I have been involved with so many aspects of LGBT history over the years whether it’s to do with HIV/AIDS, preservation of historical information or writing specifically about work made by our community. I’m 53 years-old and I’ve been active as an adult for over thirty years.”

Michael Petry graduated Rice University in Houston, received his Masters from London Guildhall University and has a Doctor in Arts from Middlesex University. Petry has authored numerous books since 1994 including “Hidden Histories: 20th Century Male Same Sex Lovers In The Visual Arts” in 2004, which was the first comprehensive survey of its kind. His one man show The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2012 was accompanied by a ten year career review book distributed by Thames & Hudson which is also the publisher of his new book “Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition”.
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