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Larger than life: Hockney and 100 Homos

If you’re lucky enough to summer on Long Island this year be sure to visit boltax.gallery on Shelter Island.  From June 20 to July 6 the gallery is home to a 3rd solo show by the artist Don Florence titled “Them,” a group of paintings dealing with themes of celebrity and worship.

Like his last show, the hilariously titled “100 Homos,” a show depicting 100 gay and lesbian icons, “Them” is also a study of iconic folks. However, this time Florence turns to the art world for his subjects. Painting on doors, rather than canvas, the works become larger-than-life, much like the artists he depicts. Those the artist chose to paint include Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and David Hockney, whose portrait is brilliant, telling a personal ancedote of Florence’s meeting with Hockney at Studio 54. It also offers social commentary on the days the AIDS epidemic ravaged New York City.

Of course Florence also depicts the master of modern portraiture, Andy Warhol, who Florence also knew. Unlike Warhol’s paintings, Florence incorporates text, allowing each painting to tell two stories: with both words and visuals. The results are colorful, bold and worth the ride from Manhattan.