Friends & Lovers
FLAG Art Foundation
6 October 2023 - 20 January 2024

friends & lovers is an expansive group exhibition that centers on relationships between artists and their subjects and explores the infinite ways, both past and present, we are influenced by our inner circles. Just as a studio visit opens a window into an artist’s creative process, who they choose to immortalize through paint, bronze, photography, etc. similarly provides insight into who serves as their inspiration, be that a lover, partner, family member, friend, celebrity crush, or fleeting encounter.

Friends & Lovers looks at portraiture through the lens of Alice Neel’s assertion that she painted “pictures of people.” Eschewing portraiture’s bourgeois associations, Neel sought to paint resonant, unheroic images of people in her life that were true to her experience of them, as seen in a bracing 1952 painting of her doe-eyed, young son Hartley. Likewise, works by fifty contemporary artists encompass a range of tender, unexpected, complex, and personal moments with and connections to their sitters, creating urgent and ultimately timeless pictures of their people.

Artists include: María Berrío, Peter Cain, Sophie Calle, Srijon Chowdhury, Alex Bradley Cohen, Will Cotton, Patricia Cronin, Anthony Cudahy, John Currin, Bernadette Despujols, Christopher Duffy, Nicole Eisenman, Shanique Emelife, Awol Erizku, Eric Fischl, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ewan Gibbs, Jerrell Gibbs, Nan Goldin, Felix González-Torres, Jenna Gribbon, Emiliana Henriquez, Patty Horing, Doron Langberg, Shona McAndrew, Dave McKenzie, Sam McKinniss, Marilyn Minter, Alice Neel, Arcmanoro Niles, Aliza Nisenbaum, Jennifer Packer, Elizabeth Peyton, Jack Pierson, Alessandro Raho, LJ Roberts, Audrey Rodriguez, Thomas Ruff, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mike Silva, Rudolf Stingel, Ruby Sky Stiler, billy sullivan, Claire Tabouret, Alessandro Teoldi, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jim Torok, Justin Wadlington, Xiao Wang, Anna Weyant, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, and Sung Jik Yang.

Friends & Lovers begins with a floor-to-ceiling installation featuring nearly three dozen paintings, pastels, and ink drawings by billy sullivan. Created between 1974 and 2019, each work reflects the individual personalities of Sullivan’s eclectic New York social circle of artists, club icons, friends, and performers; presented together they create a family tree of sorts for the artist and a portrait of New York’s underground creative scene over the past four decades.