Glory Hole blog

STUART SANDFORD ON THE BODY AS INSTRUMENT

I met Stuart Sandford in 2016, at the book release for TOM House, published by Rizzoli. New to Los Angeles and in search of a friend to explore the town with, Stuart and I quickly became inseparable. Later that summer, I would move in as the artist-in-residence at ToFF, where Stuart became a sounding board for my artistic exploration. Stuart has his ‘finger’ fixed on the pulse of the queer art scene in LA, and I am forever grateful that he brought me into the fold.

Born in the UK, Stuart has traveled the world creating and exhibiting his artwork, including sculpture, photography, and film among other mediums. He has participated in an impressive list of group and solo shows, and in 2010 he added curation to his repertoire. Add to that his frequent appearances in publications, including i-D, Dazed & Confused, BUTT, GT, Maenner, Kaiserin, attitude, and most recently LALA Magazine, which did an expose on the “House of Stuart.” Indeed, Stuart has an oeuvre which warrants its own house, as he not only creates, but draws in artists of all kinds to his community. His show, “The Body is the Instrument” is a celebration not only of the male form, but of Stuart’s ability to bring communities together. He is a dear friend of mine, who excitedly discussed the upcoming show. 

Adam Chuck, Jules Up Close, 2019

What are the greatest joys and challenges of curating?

When it all works out and the exhibition is a cohesive whole, with the convergence of the artists and the themes, there is a great sense of achievement but of course it doesn’t always run that smoothly. In terms of challenges, there can be many, especially if there is little time/money available.

How did you get connected with Dr. Evan Goldstein of Bespoke Surgical?

If I remember rightly he got in touch with me via social media wanting to buy a piece of mine, my Ouroboros I think. We met at his office in Beverly Hills and we got to talking about doing a project together which eventually became The Body Is The Instrument.

 

Stuart Sandford, Ouroboros, 2019

 

It seems like Dr. Goldstein has an amazing practice, offering sexual health specifically for the “modern gay.” Can you talk about the importance of this practice?

Evan approaches his practice as an artform and he’s totally open and direct about what he does and how he does it. In the gay community there’s a lot of talk about asses and how much we love them but do we really talk about how to take good care of them? Not so much. Evan’s goal is to change that.

How did you decide on the concept of the show, "The Body Is The Instrument"?

It really grew from Evan’s practice. He suggested a number of very specific topics relating to his practice that each artist might want to address for the show and I expanded that scope to encompass the body as a whole. It also made sense for the artists to show work that related to Tom of Finland as we’re lucky enough to be able to launch the exhibition on May 8th which is Tom of Finland’s birthday. And the title of course references Evan’s practice but also that of the artists that we’re showing who all work with depictions of the body itself within their practice.

Simon Haas, Self Portrait With Duct Tape 1, 2019

 

 

The show has a wide variety of established and emerging artists, as well as many different mediums. Tell me about the diversity of this melange, and how you went about selecting artists to feature?

This was a collaborative process between myself and Evan. Evan wanted a couple of specific artists for the exhibition, for example David Hockney and Brandon Herman, and I know both them and their work so was happy include them. I also wanted artists who hadn’t shown work at TOM House, or even in here in Los Angeles, Adam Chuck for example whose work is intimate and beautiful.

What is the dialogue of your own art in reference to this show?

Actually I was initially reluctant to include any of my work in the show but I was persuaded to do so and of course it made sense to show the stainless steel Ouroboros that Evan commissioned being that both the material and the work related so closely to Evan’s practice.

Jwan Yosef, Object, 2018

 

What are some of your favorite pieces in the show? Or that you are most excited about?

Certainly it’s an honour to be showing David Hockney’s work, and it’s a beautiful piece too. There is also an extraordinarily beautiful work by Florian Hetz which you’ll see is perfect for the exhibition.

How do shows like this help to educate the public, promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes toward sexuality?

One of the main inspirations for this exhibition was to echo Tom’s fearless depiction and celebration of sex and sexuality and this is still something that is necessary in 2019. As far as we’ve come in our community, there are still those both here in the US and in many other countries where tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people is an everyday fight.


Florian Hetz, Untitled (asshole), 2017

Is there a dress code for the show? Are we expected to arrive showing body?

As much body as possible of course!

And lastly, for those interested in the Foundation, what is the best way to get involved?

Just call and introduce yourself or book an appointment to come and visit the house. There is always someone at the house with a wry smile and a cookie to great you and they always need a hand, be it in the archive, or for an event, the more the merrier.

 

“The Body is the Instrument” opens at TOM House on May 8th and until May 31st.

View the auction on PADDLE8

 Brandon Herman, Untitled triptych (Anthony Palm Springs), 2008-2017

 Mark Beard, Sailors Kissing, 1932

 

Previous