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Michael Tracy

Season in Hell: Painting, Sculpture, and Film 1990-2021

May 1st-June 27th.2021
Opening Reception Saturday May 1st, 4-6PM

Michael Tracy, Season in Hell: Painting, Sculpture, and Film 1990–2021 is Tracy’s first gallery exhibition since 2016. When gallerist Arning moved to Texas in 2009 he was haunted by vivid memories of the Texas-based artist’s magnificent and overwhelming Terminal Privileges, a large-scale career survey at PS1 that Arning had seen in 1988. It is with great pride that the gallery now presents an ambitious mix of work that represents many of Tracy’s most significant modes of art making, giving this master artist’s majestic and unique art practice a fuller showing for the audiences of 2021.


For five decades, Tracy’s work has contained a heady mix of the fraught political realities of the Texas/Mexico border region, queer mystic rituals, and individualistic evocations of diverse art-histories, freely mixing references from Aztec sculpture, Classical Indian temple sculpture, the films of Pasolini, and the violent eroticism of the European painter Caravaggio. Tracy’s obsessions are more relevant today than ever.


Since 1978 Tracy has chosen San Ygnacio, Texas, a small Colonial-era town near Laredo in the Rio Grande Valley as his base. While originally from the midwest, Tracy has found that being physically on a border has powered his artistic decisions. Most of the performance works he made in the ’70s and ’80s, and especially the 1990 River Pierce ritual on the river, would be unthinkable in our era of heightened security around borders and neo-Puritanism around sacred, eroticized ceremonies. To guard his artistic vision, Tracy needed to pursue his art in near isolation, showing only in very particular curatorial frameworks. This has meant that his ongoing practice has been nearly invisible to all but the cognoscenti. Season in Hell, presenting works in every medium and period that Tracy has worked in, will go far in rectifying that fact.


Season in Hell and Portraits of the Damned

"Xenalalia" 1999-2000, Bronze, 19" x 15" x 11"

Creating intense encounters with contemporary art and artists since 1985.

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