Attila Richard Lukacs’s Coo Coo Ka-choo, Mr. Robinson shines in Over The Rainbow.
OVER THE RAINBOW: SEDUCTION AND IDENTITY at MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen West), to August 17. 416-395-0067. Rating: NNNN
A sampling of the immense art collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex is the focus of MOCCA's summer exhibition in honour of WorldPride. A collection with a very queer bent, it includes photographs, prints, drawings and paintings by Stephen Andrews, Justine Kurland, Betty Goodwin, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Andy Warhol, Attila Richard Lukacs and Andy Fabo, to name a few.
Cineplex president Bachir has been a voracious - some would say obsessive - art collector for close to three decades and has acquired an amazingly broad range of works. This show follows the informal, close-grouped salon-style placement of Bachir's palatial condo, with dense stacks of images from floor to ceiling.
It's easy to be overwhelmed. There are instantly recognizable fashion and celebrity images by Ritts and Leibovitz. The unforgettable Vanity Fair cover of kd lang in 40s drag being shaved by Cindy Crawford is here, as well as the equally incredible Leibovitz shot of a naked and painted Keith Haring.
Bachir's Warhol collection includes earlier, lesser-known portraits of New York drag queens, an interesting look at a visual style that has since become universal.
Then there are Canadian contemporary art stars like Lukacs, represented here by the classically South Asian-themed Coo Coo Ka-choo, Mr. Robinson. Fabo's iconic self-portraits, an attempt at a meditative deconstruction of queer identity, dominate one wall. Andrews's series of gay porn star portraits manage to be at once sombre and cheeky.
This show is replete with glamour, rainbows, celebrity and lots of beefy physiques, but as a whole it points to something more nuanced and broader: the portrait of a cultural era.