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Chivas Clem: The Tenderness of The Wolves

October 13, 2018December 8, 2018

BasketShop Gallery presents the work of Chivas Clem. After more than a decade living in New York, where he garnered international esteem as a multi-media artist, Clem moved back to his hometown of Paris, Texas. While documenting a bookstore in the small town, he befriended many of the transient men residing there and started to form an emotional bond with them. He describes them as “…drifting through life on the fringes. They represent a kind of rugged masculinity that is connected to the myths of the American West—but what were once ‘cowboys’ have mutated into ‘rednecks’—used in the pejorative to describe a certain kind of hyper-masculine terror. It connotes racism and homophobia: a scene of jacked-up trucks covered in confederate flags.” Clem says, “I grew up gay in this place—small town, deep south—and these were the kinds of men that made my life miserable. Now they are the only people I relate to, as they are outsiders themselves. I can now reconcile the twin feelings of desire and fear that gave them so much psychic power in my youth.”

Clem’s focus is on documenting the environment around this maligned subgroup of Americans—disenfranchised, heterosexual, white men. Through their own hubris, they have had to sustain a type of social armor from a heritage that is too complex to serve them. Clem’s photography searches beyond the guarding that these men endure and adorns them with an intimate portrayal of their frailties.

  • Chivas clem, The Tenderness of The Wolves: 2011-2017, 2011–2017. Print. Courtesy of the artist

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