• Jonathan Weinberg,
  • installation view of 49+,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • Jonathan Weinberg,
  • installation view of 49+,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • Jonathan Weinberg,
  • installation view from 49+,
  • Jessica Smolinski

In the aftermath of the deadliest gun shooting in U.S. history, Artspace presents 49+ (For Orlando), an installation conceived by New Haven based artist Jonathan Weinberg for the project room. The installation is dedicated to the individuals who died at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12th of this year, to their friends, families and the wider queer community. Conceived as a model for an outdoor park or public gathering space, the installation activates Weinberg’s lifelong study of color, line, light and form into three dimensions.

49+ marks a new direction for Weinberg, who is best known for his eccentric paintings of male nudes, art world friends and most recently flowers. While the installation abandons his attraction to the traditional medium of oil on stretched canvas, it emphasizes the sensuous and convivial questions he addresses in his writing, teaching, curating and studio practice—namely the minor histories of comfort, care, kinship, desire, hospitality, gendered heroism, domestic platitude and the mundane. The work’s embrace of color, transparency and simple design, (each figure is made from 2 identical pieces of plexiglass connected by a middle insert), lends to the feeling of lightness and quirk, emotions not typically associated with memorials or commemorative markers.

Weinberg derives the free standing figures from his paintings. He recasts “the kneeling figure bearing flowers”, (a reference to St. Sebastian, the unofficial patron saint of gay men), and “the meditator”, (a reference to the Buddha, or more generally any individual seeking to move beyond the distractions of the world to see the true nature of things), as monochromatic silhouettes. Situated together, these figures take on a variety of roles as mourners, saints, survivors, people waiting to believe in something and people bearing witness. At night, the figures maintain a presence in the storefront space, lit by a central glowing form. In a larger sense, the piece is about love, compassion and mindfulness—modes of being that are the opposite of the anger, despair and hate that inspire terrorism.

Artspace will host an Opening Reception for the artist on Friday, July 22 from 5-8pm. The artist will deliver a two-part talk about his work on Wednesday, July 27 that will begin at Artspace at 6pm.

About the artist: Jonathan Weinberg, Ph. D. is a painter and art historian. He is the author of Male Desire: the Homoerotic in American Art; Ambition and Love in American Art; and Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley and the First-American Avant-Garde.  He has curated the exhibitions Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (with Barbara Buhler Lynes, 2011) and The Piers: Art and Sex along the New York Waterfront at the Leslie Lohman Museum (2012).  A one-man retrospective of his paintings was on view at the Leslie Lohman Museum in 2009. His paintings are in public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jersey City Museum and the Montclair Art Museum.  Currently he is a Visiting Critic at the Yale School of Art and a Lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design.