Leigh Bowery
Useless Man

Works by Fergus Greer and Charles Atlas

Perry Rubenstein Gallery 23rd Street is pleased to present, "Useless Man", a unique exhibition of the work of the late Australian-born artist Leigh Bowery (1961-1994). The title of the exhibition derives from a single released in 1994 by Bowery's band Minty. The exhibition will consist of approximately twenty photographs of Bowery as a result of his collaboration with photographer Fergus Greer between 1988 and 1994, and two films by Charles Atlas, "Teach" (1992-99) and "Mrs. Peanuts visits New York" (1992-99).

Leigh Bowery was an icon that traversed the worlds of fashion, music and art. In addition to being a costume and clothing designer, performer and nightclub fixture, he was the ultimate exemplar of the entertainer as a social phenomenon. Born in Sunshine, Australia, Bowery moved to London in 1980 and quickly became an instrumental part of the underground music and fashion scenes that would later define the city for the next decade. Renowned for dressing in provocative and meticulously designed costumes, Bowery would set out every night, to a club, or his own performance, boasting a multitude of piercings, rivaled perhaps only by the sequins he donned. The relentless desire to take center stage later developed into a systematic approach to re-writing the body's grammar.

By the second half of the 1980s, Bowery's hand-made, spectacular costumes and serial identities were characterized as a reaction against the discord of British daily life under Margaret Thatcher's stringent social and economic policies. By challenging the boundaries of pure artifice during a culture obsessed with authenticity, Bowery mastered the overall use of his body as both subject and medium for his art. Increasingly, he used the dance floor, the street, his apartment and the photographer's studio as a proscenium.

By 1993 Bowery's confrontational performance style was widely acknowledged as an important contribution to performance art, including irreverent concerts with his rock band Minty, and the troupe Raw Sewage, in addition to contributing to the frontiers of modern dance as seen through several collaborations with choreographer and friend Michael Clark. During the last four years of life, Bowery was the prominent muse of the pre-eminent British painter Lucian Freud. The intimate, nude paintings of the larger-thanlife performer captured an enigmatic balance between Bowery's abrasive intensity and calm repose in an honest reflection of a man who has been described as a "beautiful monster."

Fergus Greer has been a freelance photographer since the 1980s. His work has been featured in the London Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, New Yorker, New York Times Magazine and Newsweek, among other publications. He has been included in solo and groups exhibitions including Saatchi Gallery, London; The Photographers Gallery, London; The National Portrait Gallery, London; and the Hayward Gallery in London. Born in England, Greer now lives in London and Los Angeles.

Charles Atlas has been producing film and video works since the mid-1970s. His work has included films for television and theatrical release, live video collaborations with choreographers and performers such as Philippe Decoufle, Michael Clark, Yvonne Ranier, Marina Abramovic, Diamanda Galas, and Leigh Bowery, among others. His film installations have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Participant, Inc.. Atlas lives and works in New York.

Exhibition: January 8 - February 26, 2005
Gallery hours: Tue-Sat 10am - 6pm

Perry Rubenstein Gallery
527 West 23rd Street
USA-New York, NY 10011
Telephone +1 212 537 80 00
Fax + 1 212 527 63 36
Email info@perryrubenstein.com