Walt Cassidy (artist)
|Born||November 21, 1972
Los Alamitos, CA
|Education||Kent State University, Kent, OH
School of Visual Arts, New York City
|Known for||Contemporary Art|
|Notable work||Kitchen Spells (2005)
The Inferior Orbs (2006)
The Paper Photographs (2008)
The Nervous Peal (2010)
Walt Cassidy, born in Los Alamitos California, is a New York City-based artist, notable for his contemporary art and participation in the New York City Club Kids culture. His explorative art emphasizes narrative abstraction, aestheticism, and conceptualism.
Throughout the 1990s, Walt Cassidy (then called Walt Paper) was at the center of the New York City Club Kids, an artistic and fashion-conscious youth culture. The group was a definitive force in New York City's underground club culture at the time and made long-lasting contributions to mainstream art and fashion. According to Cassidy, "The nightclub for me was like a laboratory, a place where you were encouraged and rewarded for experimentation."
Cassidy founded the band BOOB (1995–98), a conceptual hardcore rock band, composed of various club kids, that began amidst the infamous Peter Gatien-owned nightclubs—The Limelight, Tunnel, Palladium, and Club USA—as well as the downtown venues CBGB and Don Hills. The band was known for their elaborate and over-the-top image, which sought to challenge gender social norms during the growing conservatism of Rudy Giuliani's "Quality of Life" campaign in New York City.
Cassidy's current work evolved from an interest in still life photography, sculpture, and illustration. The Kitchen Spells (2005) and The Inferior Orbs (2006) were first exhibited in The Believers at MASS MOCA and operate symbolically on multiple levels, indicating religious spiritualism and secular cultural resonance, while also working as deep autobiographical portraits.
The Protective Motif, Cassidy's first solo show in New York, debuted in 2010 at Invisible-Exports gallery in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The show included The Paper Photographs (2008), ink drawings, and the wall based sculptures, Nail Bomb (2009) and Through (2010). Cassidy works in cut brass, weaving, stripping, and hooking abstract patterns and textures on a wood frames. These works are minimalist in material but maximalist in emotion, and operate where autobiography meets methodology.
The Nervous Peal (2011) drawings were exhibited in The Displaced Person at Invisible-Exports, alongside works by Sue Williams and Ron Athey. In this series of ink drawings of athletic sculptures, Cassidy examined structures that impose both conformity and alterity on the body. Carbon photography prints of idyllic male youths, framed within hand-drawn structures, reflect an eroticization of and dislocation from the male form. Tellingly, Cassidy's choice of settings includes New York's Jacob Riis beach, honoring a man who documented the blight of the industrial era's downtrodden.
- 2006 – Gay Art Now, curated by Jack Pierson, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City
- 2007 – The Believers, curated by Elizabeth Thomas and Nato Thompson, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA
- 2008 – Womanizer, curated by Kembra Pfahler, Deitch Projects, New York City
- 2010 – The Protective Motif, Invisible-Exports Gallery, New York City
- 2010 – Closed for Installation, 303 Gallery, New York City
- 2011 – The Displaced Person, Invisible-Exports Gallery, New York City
- 2011 – The Unseen, curated by Adela Leibowitz, Torrance Art Museum, California
- John E. Mitchell, "Following the Ritual," North Adams Transcript, May 2007
- Smith, Raven. (Ed.). (2008). Club Kids: From Speakeasies to Boombox and Beyond. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing
- Bollen, Christopher (31 March 2010). "Studio Visit: The Magic of Walt Cassidy". Interview. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Akel, Joseph (January 2012). "The Displaced Person". Artforum.