The show will feature approximately 13 large-scale personification photographs that draw from the artist’s background as a gay man growing up in the intensely Catholic culture of the Philippines. Just as Christian imagery was adjusted to the context of different cultures, Cosme re-imagines Counter-reformation ecstatic and hagiographical imagery with a homoerotic twist and an emphasis on national identity. Using live models, he stages his photographs, and his work recalls the hyper-realism and surrealism of Pierre et Gilles. Tally Beck Contemporary will also present a lecture program on Filipino visual arts and the influence of European religious imagery.
Cosme lives and works in the Philippines and has exhibited extensively in Asia and the United States. In 2011, Cosme carried first prize in the PPA Affiliate Asia-Pacific Image Competition in Seoul.
The Altar Boy will open at Tally Beck Contemporary, 42 Rivington Street, New York, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, with an opening reception from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. In addition to the usual opening festivities, we will be auctioning artwork by Filipino artists Niccolo Cosme and Lenore Lim at 7:30 pm with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross’s Typhoon Appeal. More information on this event is available here.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Tally Beck Contemporary will also present two special lectures. On Wednesday evening, December 11, art historian and gallerist Tally Beck will present a lecture entitled The Art of Ecstasy: The Legacy of Sexuality in Counter-Reformation Religious Art. This talk will address Niccolo Cosme’s work in the context of religious imagery. The following Tuesday, December 17, Prof. Anne Hoy will present Family Tree: Niccolo Cosme and the Photo Personification, which will explain the artist’s work in the history of photography.